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delations and Allied Documents 

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Father Jacques Marquette, of the 
Society of Jesns, arrived in Canada, from 
France, in 1666, when the Jesuit missions 
of New France were approaching their full 
tide of success, but had only recently entered 
upon the vast, ill-defined region beyond Lake 
Huron. Although but twenty-nine years of 
age, he had already won some notice as a 
lecturer in the Jesuit schools of his native 
land. Beared to luxury in what was per- 
haps the principal family in the cathedral 
city of Laon, in his seventeenth year he put 
behind him the traditions of his ancient 
house, which marked its sons for statesman- 
ship and for war, and surrendered himself 
to the service of the Cross. In response to 
his yearning for a missionary career, he was 
in due time sent by his superior to join the 
devoted band then engaged in taming the 
savages of the American wilderness, 

Father Marquette 

Soon acquiring the mdiments of this 
most ardnons of professions, Marquette was 
despatched to the farthest outposts of French 
influence — to Snult de Ste. Marie, and next 
to Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior ; final- 
ly, when his flock of Hurons and Ottawas had 
been driven eastward by their Sioux neigh- 
bors, rearing his little chapel of bark upon 
the lonely straits of Mackinac. 

Upon the seventeenth of May, 1673, he 
set out in company with Louis Joliet, an 
exploring agent of Count Frontenac, gov- 
ernor of New France, to discover the Mis- 
sissippi Biver, the principal American geo- 
graphical puzzle of the day, which both 
Joliet and Marquette had long desired to 
6olve. In their two frail canoes of birch- 
bark, with five French servants, the explor- 
ers entered the great river, at the mouth of 
the Wisconsin, upon the seventeenth of June, 
and descended, with many interesting ad- 
ventures, as far south as the mouth of the 
Arkansas River. Learning from the In- 
dians the course and characteristics of the 
waterway from that i)oint to the Gulf of 
Mexico, they returned northward, by way of 


tbe niixiois And €!liicago Bivers and the west 
shore of Lake Miehigan, reaching the Jesuit 
mission at the rapids of De Pere, Wis., in 

After a winter at De Pere, Joliet returned 
to QueBec by canoe, but lost his crew and 
all his papers in the rapids at La Chine. 
But Marquette's journal and map of the 
voyage were safely transmitted to his supe- 
rior-general at Quebec by the hands of In- 
dians; they were the only detailed records 
of the expedition which have been ever pub- 

Overcome by a malady contracted 
through exposure and hardship upon the 
long voyage, it was not until October of 1674 
that Marquette could leave De Pere and re- 
turn by boat to Blinois, where he desired 
to found a new mission. After a cold, 
dreary journey up the west coast of Lake 
Michigan, he was obliged, because of ill- 
health, to pass the winter with two servants 
in a wretched cabin upon the Chicago Biver. 
In the early spring he was able to proceed 
to some Indian villages upon the Blinois 
Biver, but j90on was obliged by his ailment 


Father Marquette 

to return, this time intending to reach his 
old mission of St. Ignace, on the Mackinac 
straits. Death overtook him while still two 
hundred and fifty miles from his destination; 
he passed away on the eighteenth of May, 
1675, upon the site of the present city of 
Ludington, Mich. The following year, some 
friendly Indians removed his bones to St. 
Ignace, where they were buried by his breth- 
ren of the society in a vault beneath the 
chapel floor. 

Such, in outline, is the brief, simple trag- 
edy of one of the most interesting characters 
in American history. Father Marquette was 
great as an explorer, as a tamer of savages, 
as a preacher; and he has left to us, in the 
journals of his voyages of 1673 and 1674-75, 
two keenly interesting human documents. 
But still greater was he in his saintly char- 
acter, which was ever an inspiration to his 
fellow laborers in the wilderness, and can 
but always command the cordial admiration 
of mankind. 

The principal life-work of Father Mar- 
quette was within the boundaries of what is 
now the United States ; and herein his bones 


lie. We may, therefore, properly claiiii him 
as an American hero, intimately associated 
with the history of the Mississippi Valley. 
Other biographies of Marquette exist — nota- 
bly those by Sparks and by Shea ; but they 
are brief, and much has since been learned 
about the Jesuit missions and missionaries 
of the Northwest. It is now possible to treat 
of him with more knowledge, consequently 
at greater length. Slight space has here 
been given to the story of his ancestry, or 
of his early years in France. This is left 
for others, when more is known concerning 
them than is now available. It is sufficient 
for the present purpose to lay chief stress 
upon his work in the Western wilderness. 

Whenever practicable, the present writer 
has drawn freely upon the annual Relations 
of the Jesuits, and upon Marquette's own 
journals, all of which have been made read- 
ily accessible thi*ough recent publication, in 
seventy-three volumes, by the Burrows 
Brothers Company, of Cleveland. It has 
thus been sought to convey a picture of the 
conditions surrounding our hero, delineated 
in large measure by himself and his contem- 


Father Marquette 

poraries; thereby admitting the reader to a 
more intimate view than would otherwise be 
possible. To the Burrows Brothers Com- 
pany grateful acknowledgments are due for 
courteous permission to make liberal ex- 
tracts from their edition; also for the use 
herein of several of its illustrations. Thanks 
are also due to the Hon. Sam S. Fifield, of 
Ashland, and Arthur C. Neville, Esq., of 
Oreen Bay, Wis., for topographical in- 
formation concerning their respective local- 

E. G. T. 

April, 190t. 








Laon and the Mabquittbs . . • . 



Thb TKAiNnre of ▲ Man of Aonoir 



Abkiyal in Canada 



Two Teabs of Appbbnticbship 

. 27 


Thb Indians and the Missions 

. 88 


Abbiyal at the Ottawa Mission . 

. 48 


The Sault and its People . 

. 68 


At La Pointe Mission .... 

. 87 


Lake Supebiob Abandoned . 

. 84 


Abbiyal at Mackinac .... 

. 100 


A Stbbnuous Life . . . . ^ 

. 110 



. 122 


The Expedition Stabts .... 

. 187 


Abbiyal at Be Pebb .... 

. 145 


The Mission of St. Fban^is Xayibb . 

. 156 


At the Masooitten Villaoe . 

. 170 



. 182 


The Ltmit of the Joubnet . 

, 190 


A WiNTEB AT St. FBAN901S Xayieb 

. 205 


Belief in Death 

. 217 


Mabqubtte's Place in Histobt . 

. 228 


. 285 



Reputed portrait of Marquette .WonMqvisee 

"Jesuit map of Lake Superior, 1670-71 .... 70 

Collet and Marquette departing from St. Ignace . . 144 

ICombined bronze sun-dial and compass . . . 168 

Terrot's ostensorium, 1686 168 

"^Entering the Wisconsin Biver at Portage . . . 186 

'tTunction of the Wisconsin and Mississippi . • . 190 

"TThe Meeting with the Illinois 194 

"Attacked by the Mitchigamea 200 

•Marquette's MS. map, 1673 • 212 

"A page of Marquette's Journal, 1674-75 . . .218 

"Marquette's journey across the site of Chicago . . 220 

'The death of Marquette 226 

'Burial of Marquette at St. Ignace . . • . 228 

'Trentanove's statue of Marquette 280 





Eighty-seven miles by rail northeast of 
Paris, a long, rugged hill, some three hundred 
feet high, stands alone in the midst of a wide, 
rich plain upon which gardens, vineyards, 
orchards, groups of forest trees, and small 
white villages pleasantly alternate. Perched 
upon this rocky eminence is the ancient forti- 
fied city of Laon, now capital of the depart- 
ment of the Aisne, girt about by massive gray 
walls. To-day can be seen in Laon the re- 
mains of buildings erected nearly fifteen cen- 
turies ago, which, if gifted with speech, might 
testify as eye-witnesses to some of the most 
stirring scenes in the troubled history of 

The commanding position of the "Eock 
of Laon " early caused it to be selected as a 
place of defense. The Romans found here a 
» 1 

Father Marquette 

considerable settlement of skin-dressed shep- 
herds, gathered as in a tower of refuge from 
the raids of robber bands who terrorized the 
plain. The Christian faith had been brought 
to Laon in the third century, and in the year 
515 Saint Bemy, the ^^ Apostle to the Franks/' 
built here a rude cathedral. The French 
kings of the first and second dynasties made 
of this hill-crest a stronghold. Under Louis 
V it was the last possession of the Carlovin- 
gian, or second, dynasty; the foundations of 
his great castle can still be seen. The Bock 
having at last become a center of power 
for oppressors, instead of a refuge for the 
oppressed, the commoners of Laon became 
turbulent Through several centuries they 
waged a rough struggle with their masters, 
and were one of the first communities in 
northern France to throw off the fetters of 

Laon has been associated in some man- 
ner, directly or indirectly, with nearly all of 
the epoch-making incidents in the history of 
France. Long situated upon the frontier, it 
served as a rampart against eastern enemies ; 
and many a conflict occurred within its walls 

Laon and the Marquettes 

when warring kings, nobles, and townsmen 
contended for its possession. Many times 
has Laon been besieged, although seldom cap- 
tured. John the Fearless, Duke of Burgun- 
dy, stormed it successfully in 1411; eight 
years later the English triumphantly entered 
within its gates, but ten years afterward they 
were driven out In 1594 it was taken by 
siege under Henry IV; beneath its walls, in 
1814, Bonaparte met a crushing dief eat at the 
hands of Bltlcher; and in 1870 it capitulated 
to the Germans. 

Early in the twelfth century, during times 
of great popular commotion, the Church of 
Rome strengthened its power here by build- 
ing a fine new Gothic cathedral, which still 
stands as one of the most imposing historical 
monuments in France. Another interesting 
edifice is the collegiate church of Saint Mar- 
tin, built in the thirteenth century; but the 
once celebrated abbeys of Saint Martin and 
Saint Vincent, long famed throughout Eu- 
rope as seats of scholarship, have passed 
away. There are in Laon, also, the ruins of 
a remarkable leaning tower, of unknown age, 
like those of Bologna and Pisa. The old 


Father Marquette 

wall, flanked with small towers and pierced 
by a Gothic gate, alone remains of the former 
defenses, which had so often withstood the 
raging tide of medieval warfare. 

Although most frequently mentioned in 
history as a fortress, the Laon of the middle 
ages was perhaps best known to men of that 
day as a center of learning and piety. From 
the time of Saint Bemy to the outbreak of the 
French Revolution, eighty-seven bishops had 
ruled over the diocese; four of them were, 
after their deaths, canonized as saints — Gene- 
baud, Latro, Canoald, and Serulphe. Three 
popes came from Laon. The most famous of 
them, Urban IV, had as a boy been a chorister 
in the cathedral; and when the citizens of 
Laon, who had helped to educate him, sent to 
Urban an address of congratulation upon his 
accession to the headship of the church, he 
said of the congregation of his old town: " it 
has cherished me as a mother, has fed me as a 
nurse, has protected me as a teacher, has en- 
riched me as a benefactor.^' Laon's school 
was for centuries one of the most famous in 
Europe. Its greatest master was Anselm, 
who in the middle of the twelfth century at- 


Laon and the Marquettes 

tracted to his lecture-room so many scholars 
that they exceeded in nimibers the inhabit- 
ants of the little city itself. Among these 
scholars were some of the best-known men in 
Europe, such as Ab^lard and William of 

Prominent among the citizens of this cele- 
brated old hill-town of Laon, with its splen- 
did heritage of good, brave, and learned men, 
were the family of the Marquettes. Not 
themselves titled, they nevertheless were 
throughout many generations allied to the 
nobility by marriage^ and were among the 
townsmen who persistently ranged them- 
selves under the banners of the kings. Sev- 
eral of them attained high station in the 
service of their masters. 

Vermand Marquette, a follower of the 
blundering Louis-le-Jeune (1137-80), is the 
first who is mentioned in the history of the 
town. His son Jacques followed John of 
France into captivity (1356), and four years 
later was largely instrumental in raising 
money to ransom the king from the English ; 
he was rewarded by being made sheriff of 
Laon, then a position of much dignity and 


Father Marquette 

power. Three centuries later (1698), royal 
recognition of this act resulted in the Mar- 
quettes being permitted to place upon their 
coat-of-arms the three martlets carried upon 
the insignia of the city itself. So persistent 
had been the traditions of the family in the 
support of royalty that, when the city of Laon 
became a member of the Roman Catholic 
League against Henry IV (1589-1610), Nico- 
las Marquette, the father of the subject of 
our biography, and then a civic magistrate 
of eminence, stood as the friend of the king, 
and was consequently banished from his na- 
tive town. In due time, when Henry's cause 
proved triumphant, Nicolas was richly re- 
warded for his loyalty. Nearly two hundred 
years after this event, three members of the 
Marquette family, serving in the French 
army which supported the American Revo- 
lution, lost their lives upon our soil in behalf 
of the liberty of the citizen as against the 
arrogance of the crown ; a fourth, Marquette 
Plumaison, after having served under Wash- 
ington, returned to Laon and died there in 
1811. Another Marquette was a member of 
the upper house of the Parliament of Paris, 


Laon and the Marquettes 

at the outbreak of the French Bevolution. 
Descendants of these men still live in the old 

The Marquettes of Laon were distin- 
guished not only in political and judicial life. 
Besides the great missionary whose romantic 
cai*eer we are to trace upon these pages, at 
least two of its members have won permanent 
places in the history of the Roman Church. 
A forefather of his mother — Rose de la Salle, 
of Reims, who died before 1710 — ^was the no- 
ted Jean Baptiste de la Salle, founder of the 
Order of Brothers of the Christian Schools, 
who, before modem systems of popular edu- 
cation were devised, freely instructed thou- 
sands of the poor boys of France. In 1685, 
eleven years after the death of our hero, 
his sister Frangoise founded a similar or- 
der, called Marquette Sisters, for the free 
education of girls. This order, to which 
FrauQoise sacrificed all of her fortune, was 
widely successful throughout northern 
France; with the name changed to Sisters 
of Providence of Laon, its good work has 
continued, with but brief interruptions, down 
to our own times. 




Wb have seen that Rose de la Salle, who 
married Nicolas Marquette, the principal 
adherent of King Henry IV at Laon, was al- 
lied to the famous Jean Baptiste de la Salle, 
founder of the Brothers of the Christian 
Schools, Thus were united, in the blood of 
our missionary, the virtues of distinguished 
connection with the church and philanthropy, 
and those qualities of head and heart which 
bore fruitage in high service to the state. 

The Marquettes were blessed with six 
children: Louis, who was, for what reason 
we know not, nicknamed "Catalan;" Jean 
Bertrand, Michel, Frangoise, concerning 
whose order of Marquette Sisters we have 
already read, and who died upon the twenty- 
fifth of November, 1697 ; Marie, and, last and 
greatest, Jacques. 

Jacques was bom, as presumably were all 
of his sisters and brothers, within the battle- 


The Training of a Man of Action 

scarred walls of the Bock of Laon. The date 
was June 1, 1637. Probably the most stir- 
ring period of his father's life had passed. 
His patron. King Henry, had been dead these 
twenty-seven years ; and now Henry's feeble 
son, Lonis XTTI, was upon the throne, al- 
though behind him stood the inflexible Riche- 
lieu, minister of state, then at the height of 
his power. Spain and Austria were at the 
time invading Prance; but, before Jacques 
Marquette was two years of age, the enemy 
was turned back and Prance had successfully 
withstood the shock. That Nicolas continued 
in his official station throughout these times 
of storm and stress upon the frontier, there 
is no doubt; but the records are silent as to 
his deeds. 

It has been contended that the household 
into which Jacques was born was the lead- 
ing family of Laon. Apparently, its mem- 
bers were as wealthy as they were promi- 
nent. It is therefore reasonable to suppose 
that the youthful career of our hero was 
such as in that day became the son of a 
prosperous citizen and honored official. The 
soul-stirring story of old Laon, whose gates 


Father Marquette 

had been battered by more than a thou- 
sand years of warfare, must have strongly 
appealed to a sturdy youth in whose veins 
coursed the blood of centuries of valiant an- 
cestors who had fought to preserve its walls 
intact. Possibly much of the broad plain 
dominated by the fortress town was the proud 
possession of his family. The times were 
such as to develop the "strenuous life.*' 
There were hours in which young Marquette 
of Laon must have felt strong within him the 
call to, arms and to statesmanship. 

But there was that other, and in a sense 
contrary, element in his blood and in his sur- 
roundings. His mother's predilections were 
no doubt toward the church, and thither the 
steps of her youngest son soon led. The war- 
rior within him, however, chose a priestly 
field which presented abundant opportunity 
for displaying the qualities of the scholar, the 
diplomat, and the soldier. Forsaking what 
worldly honors might be won by a man of 
great family and generous wealth, he elected, 
as did many another high-spirited youth of 
his day, to become a Jesuit missionary. 

To the large neighboring city of Nancy, 

The Training of a Man of Action 

Marquette went shortly after his seventeenth 
birthday, and upon the eighth of October, 
1654, we find him entered in the Jesuit col- 
lege there as a novice. He studied also at 
Pont-d.-Mousson, and after several years of 
preparation was received as a professed 
member of this celebrated order, which is 
devoted to education and to missionary ef- 
fort. In the manner of most of the Jesuit 
missionaries of his time, he served for sev- 
eral years as a teacher, his work taking him 
into the schools of his order at Reims, Charle- 
ville, and Langres, where he appears to have 
won an excellent reputation as a student of 

Throughout the entire life of young Mar- 
quette the French Jesuits in Canada, then 
called New Prance, had carried on one of the 
most remarkable missionary enterprises in 
all history. Jesuit priests had first reached 
New France in 1611, nearly a decade before 
the landing of the Plymouth Pilgrims ; but it 
was not until 1632, five years before Mar- 
quette's birth, that circumstances permitted 
them to commence with vigor their celebrated 
attempt to convert to Christianity the war- 


Father Marquette 

like Indians of Canada and the Mississippi 

For nearly a centnry and a half, this work 
of the Jesnit fathers was one of the chief 
elements in the story of New France, With 
heroic fortitude, often with marvelous enter- 
prise, they pushed into the heart of the far- 
thest wilderness while still there were but 
Indian trails to connect the widely scattered 
villages of the aborigines. Cultivated men, 
for the most part, trained to see as well as to 
think, they left the most highly civilized coun- 
try in Europe to seek shelter in the foul and 
often inhospitable huts of the fiercest barba- 
rians in history. To win these crude beings 
to the Christian faith it was necessary to 
know them intimately in their daily life, to 
follow them upon their hunting and their war 
parties, and often to accompany miserable 
bands which were fleeing from the wrath of 
a stronger enemy who swept everything be- 
fore him ; to know their speech, their habits, 
their manner of thought, their various peculi- 
arities. No white men have ever become 
more expert in forest lore than were the 
Jesuit fathers. Never in any field of action 

The Training of a Man of Action 

has there been witnessed greater heroism 
than that of these devoted missionaries ; and 
many of them were to lose their lives in the 
task, some by tortnres as horrible as could 
be invented by the ingenuity of savage minds. 
From 1632 until 1673— the year of Mar- 
quette's discovery of the Mississippi — ^there 
was annually published in Paris a little vol- 
ume called a Relation, which contained an ac- 
count of the far-spread work of this Jesuit 
mission to the Indians for the twelve months 
previous : it was largely made up of extracts 
from reports or letters sent in by the mis- 
sionaries to their superiors at Quebec. To- 
day these Relations are of very great value 
to historians, for from them are obtainable 
what is often the only information we have 
of affairs in New France for certain periods. 
During the time of their publication the Re- 
lations were exceedingly popular in France, 
especially among the aristocratic class. 
Their regular appearance was always await- 
ed with the keenest interest, and assisted 
greatly in arousing the enthusiasm of benevo- 
lent people, who made rich gifts for the sup- 
port of the missions, which required the con- 

Father Marquette 

stant expenditure of a great deal of money ; 
they also awakened on the part of many 
Frenchwomen a desire to go out to New 
France as hospital nuns, and helped raise 
among the men the necessary recruits to offer 
up their lives and fortunes as missionaries to 
the savages. 

No doubt young Marquette had eagerly 
read these Relations before he joined the 
Jesuit order; it is quite likely that they as- 
sisted in determining him to take the step, 
although it is reasonable to believe that his 
mother's pious inclinations also had much to 
do with his decision. We are told that 
throughout the twelve years which he spent 
in the service of his order in Franee, as stu- 
dent and as teacher, he was continually fired 
with missionary zeal, and longed for the day 
when he, too, might enter upon this field of 
martyrdom as a soldier of the Cross. 

But the discipline of the Jesuit order is 
severe. Possibly his superiors were long of 
the opinion that he was not yet ripe for the 
sacrifice; meekness and gentleness were lead- 
ing traits in Marquette's character, and these 
may not at first have seemed to fit him for the 


The Training of a Man of Action 

rude life of the missionary; or perhaps his 
success as a teacher may have seemed to mark 
him for a scholastic career. At all events, 
the young zealot was obliged throughout a 
dozen long years to practise patience, while 
inwardly yearning with all the intensity of 
his soul for a life of sacrifice in the North 
American wilds. The Relations had borne 
to him the story of the trials for the church 
suffered by such great brethren of his order 
as Biard, Mass6, Charles and Jerome Lale- 
mant, Bagueneau, Vimont, Le Jeune, Chau- 
monot, Bressani, Drtiillettes, Dablon, and 
Allouez ; they had recorded for him the mar- 
tyrdom of Du Thet, the giant Br^beuf , Dan- 
iel, Gamier, the gentle Jogues, G6upil, 
Menard, Chabanel, Garreau, and Gabriel 

No wonder that the heart of this son of 
warriors was stirred to its depths by the re- 
cital of such heroic deeds as his brothers 
were, in the consecrated service of the church, 
daily performing in darkest America; that 
he fretted beneath the bonds which kept a 
man of action within cloistered walls. But, 
ever with his feverish ambition unchecked, 

Father Marquette 

young Father Marquette carefully pat- 
terned all the details of his own life after 
that of the greatest of the Jesuit mission- 
aries, Saint Frangois Xavier, who had plant- 
ed the faith in fifty-two kingdoms of Asia. 
Thus did he bide his time. 




When Father Marquette was twenty-nine 
years of age (in 1666) , he received the long- 
wished-for orders from his superior to pro- 
ceed to New Prance to prepare for the work 
of a forest missionary. A Jesuit priest, like 
a soldier, must be always ready to march. 
He was, therefore, not long in reaching some 
port in northern France, whence was bound a 
ship for Quebec. 

In those days, crossing the Atlantic Ocean 
was far from being a pleasure excursion. 
The vessels were small, unventilated, and ill- 
arranged; they were tossed about by fierce 
tempests; cooking was often impossible upon 
them, because of the excessive motion; and 
the passengers suffered greatly not only from 
seasickness and ship-fever, and not seldom 
from scurvy, but frequently from bruises, 
sprains, or even broken limbs caused by rude 
pitching and rolling upon the turbulent 
8 17 

Father Marquette 

waves. Navigation charts were but crude 
and pilots nnskilled, with the result that ship- 
wrecks were of frequent occurrence, often 
entailing prolonged misery and even death. 
Some of the graphic descriptions of voyages 
to New Prance, written by the early Jesuit 
fathers and published in the Relations^ 
abound in horrors — although sometimes with 
comical situations, when viewed from the 
standpoint of a man who had successfully 
endured the passage — which must have 
cooled the ardor of any but the most enter- 
prising or the most zealous of those who 
would seek fortune or opportunity for service 
in the New World. 

But the ordinary trials and disasters of the 
voyage were increased by ever constant fear 
of the prowling ships of enemies. Wars were 
then frequent between the nations of Europe^ 
and navigators did not always know with 
whom their kings were quarreling ; news trav- 
eled slowly ; and confiding captains sometimes 
unwittingly fell into the hands of enemies 
from whom they might have escaped had they 
known them to be such. Again, it frequently 
happened that the masters of fighting vessels 


Arrival in Canada 

did not always wait for a declaration of war 
before they attacked a foreign ship which 
seemed to promise rich returns in plunder. 
Many of the great voyagers whose deeds we 
celebrate in history were practically bucca- 
neerSy who, upon one pretext or another, 
preyed upon the craft of every other nation 
than their own. To-day, with improved mor- 
als in our international relations, we should 
call such conduct piracy, and would punish 
the corsairs very severely; but in earlier cen- 
turies it was counted a species of valiant 
adventure. The man who could bring home 
to the ports of his monarch the largest fleet 
and the greatest treasure, captured upon the 
high seas generally at the cost of much inno- 
cent blood, was, without any questions being 
asked, richly rewarded and perhaps made an 

We should think it a great hardship to be 
obliged to run such dire risks of life, liberty, 
or property, even during the six or seven 
or ten days which now are consumed upon 
a voyage between Prance and North America. 
But when we reflect that the time ordinarily 
spent in such a journey was, in the day of 

Father Marquette 

Father Marquette, three months and not in- 
frequently four, we may form some notion of 
the miseries of such a trip, with its physical 
and mental discomforts; and may be better 
able to appreciate the hardy spirit of the pio- 
neer settlers and missionaries who emigrated 
to America in the seventeenth century. 

The young priest has left us no account 
of the incidents of his voyage ; but upon the 
pages of the interesting Journal which was 
kept by the superior of the Jesuits at Que- 
bec, for the purpose of recording the princi- 
pal events of their life there, we read under 
the date of September 20, 1666: "Father 
Jacques Marquette arrived, in good health, 
on the 7th ship.'' And one of the members of 
the Jesuit household, Father Thiery Besche- 
fer, writing to friends in France, upon the 
fourth of October, said : " Father Marquette 
and Master Elie have arrived safely, after a 
somewhat protracted voyage — ^which, how- 
ever, has been prosperous for them and for 
all of the 8 ships that have come to us from 
France. Not a single one of these fell into 
the hands of the English or of the Turks, 
although several were pursued.'' 

Arrival in Canada 

This good fortune, however, did not ac- 
company the last ship of the season from 
Prance, for in the Journal, dated October 
fifth, is the record : " Finally, the last ship, 
called the fortune blanche, arrived, after 
having encountered many dangers, — ^having 
lost her anchors, run aground 4 leagues from 
here, etc,, — and, above all, after losing 5 men, 
who went ashore near Tadoussac, and are 
thought to have been captured by the Iro- 
quois.** Thus were there dangers to travel- 
ers, by land as well as by sea. Tadoussac 
was a small French and Indian settlement 
at the mouth of the Saguenay Biver, where 
an important fur trade was carried on by 
Frenchmen with the Indians of the lower St. 
Lawrence River and that vast territory, 
abounding in lakes and rivers, which reaches 
northward up to Lake St. John and to the 
back of Labrador. Vessels generally stopped 
there on the voyage between Quebec and 
France ; but just then the Indians of the re- 
gion, who were friendly to the French, were 
being attacked by the relentless Iroquois of 
New York State, who bitterly hated the 
French, and whose war-path often led them 

Father Marquette 

to the very gates of Quebec. To wander into 
the tangled woods, out of reach of the guns 
of the little forts which protected the French 
settlements, often meant, in those days of Iro- 
quois raids, either being felled by an unseen 
foe, or else captured and made to suffer slow 
death by savage torture. As no record ap- 
pears of the return of the five missing men 
of the unfortunate ship " Fortune Blanche,*^ 
it is fair to presume that they were carried 
to the home of the Iroquois, in the beautiful 
valley of the Mohawk, and there met a hor- 
rible fate. 

The Quebec to which Father Marquette 
was introduced, together with the three other 
French Jesuits who had preceded him in Au- 
gust, was of course very different from the 
Quebec of to-day. Upon the summit of the 
lofty cliff which commands the St. Lawrence 
River and the surrounding country lived 
the officials, soldiers, priests, and nuns. 
Chief among the rude stone buildings upon 
this lofty crest were the residence (or " cas- 
tle ") of the governor, the church and " col- 
lege" of the Jesuits, and the hospital and 
little convent of the Ursuline nuns. Along 

Arrival in Canada 

the rim of this rocky perch stretched mass- 
ive stone walls, with gates and turrets — suf- 
ficient, when the height and steepness of the 
cliff are considered, easily to turn back any 
savage enemy armed only with slings, bows, 
and spears, or with flint-lock muskets; and 
proof against an ordinary siege by the light 
artillery of white enemies, whose ships could 
make small headway under the brows of this 
natural fortress. At the foot of a steep, nar- 
row, and winding path which led down to the 
beach were ranged some warehouses kept by 
fur-traders and shipping men, with two or 
three score of mean dwellings and other 
structures clustered about them: here lived 
the bulk of the population. The tiny capital 
of New France, although it had been settled 
for half a century, contained only a few hun- 
dred inhabitants ; indeed, all of New France^ 
from Newfoundland to Lake Superior, boast- 
ed a white population of but ten thousand 
souls — soldiers, missionaries, nuns, fisher- 
men, sailors, settlers, and fur-traders. 

So great were the difficulties of keeping in 
touch with Europe, and such the hidden ter- 
rors of the almost untrodden wilderness 

Father Marquette 

which stretched limitless from this lofty rock, 
that in our day, at the dawn of the twentieth 
century, there exist few, if any, white settle- 
ments so far removed from civilization as 
was the Quebec to which Father Marquette 
lifted admiring eyes upon the twentieth of 
September, 1666, 

The Jesuit missionaries of New France 
have, by their splendid deeds of exploration 
and of heroism, occupied so large a space in 
American history that not many of us realize 
how few of them were engaged in the serv- 
ice of attempting the christianization ^ the 
North American savages. Throughout the 
hundred and eighty years which elapsed be- 
tween the coming of Fathers Biard and Mass^ 
(1611) and the death of Father Well (1791), 
but 320 Jesuit priests, scholastics, and lay 
brothers (or assistants) came to Canada 
from France ; and probably at no time were 
over fifty-five employed in the service at once 
throughout the vast stretch of country from 
the Gulf of St. Lawrence, up the river and 
the Great Lakes, and down the Mississippi to 
New Orleans. 

To the little party of his brethren gathered 

Arrival in Canada 

at Quebec, the young teacher brought welcome 
news from the houses and colleges of their 
order in France, and curious incidents of his 
long voyage ; while his own eager questioning 
was rewarded by details of the life of sacri- 
fice in the New World in which he was about 
to participate. 

Winter in this northern latitude com- 
mences early. The autumn was now well 
sped. The novice who arrived upon the sev- 
enth ship must at once be set the task of ac- 
quiring the simplest essentials of his new call- 
ing — a knowledge of the Indians, their habits 
and their language, and the best methods of 
dealing with them from a missionary's 
standpoint. Besides this knowledge of the 
savages, he must learn the elements of wood- 
craft, or the art of living in the forest, leav- 
ing to the future that long and painful prac- 
tise which alone can make him adept; and 
acquaintance with the methods and character 
of the fur-traders, whose commercial greed 
sadly corrupted the tribesmen, was quite as 
necessary an accomplishment, for not seldom 
was the trader the missionary's worst enemy. 

Only twenty days were allowed the new 

Father Marquette 

arrival to recover from his voyage and get 
his bearings in Quebec. And then, the tenth 
of October, occurs this simple record in the 
Journal, in the firm handwriting of the supe- 
rior, Father Frangois le Mercier: "Father 
Jacques Marquette goes up to Three Rivers, 
to be a pupil of Father Drtlillettes in the 
Montagnais language." 

Qur hero had at last entered upon his 
chosen field. 




Three Rivers is seventy-seven miles 
above Quebec, upon the northern bank of the 
River St. Lawrence, at the point where the 
waters of the St. Maurice empty into the 
larger stream. It was one of the earliest out- 
posts of Canada and the center of a large 
Jesuit mission to the Indians. So slow had 
been the work of populating New France, that 
Three Rivers was, at the time of which we 
write, although thirty-two years old, still a 
small village of less than five hundred in- 

Like that of Tadoussac, at the mouth of 
the Saguenay, the site of Three Rivers had 
from the earliest times been a favorite gath- 
ering-place for bands of Indians when going 
to and frpm their winter hunts. When the 
French introduced the fur trade, it proved 
a convenient point for the traders to meet 
the savages in spring and autumn. This was 

Father Marquette 

the reason why the Jesuits established a mis- 
sion there. The missionary who was sta- 
tioned at Three Rivers was always present 
at these semiannual trading "meets;" and 
when the wandering tribesmen returned to 
the wilderness he would accompany some 
selected band, sharing with them, if need be, 
upon their long and toilsome journeys, all the 
horrors of famine, pestilence, and intertribal 

Such was the rude school to which Mar- 
quette was promptly sent by his superior. 
Father DrtLillettes, then in charge at Three 
Rivers, a veteran from the missions in Maine, 
was himself a master in the many-sided art 
of the forest missionary, and proved an ad- 
mirable instructor. The matter of language 
was a serious stumbling-block to many of the 
missionaries of New France. It is no small 
task to gain such knowledge of European 
tongues as may enable one to use them with 
ease in conversation; and these are formed 
upon acknowledged principles of philology, 
while grammars and dictionaries are avail- 
able to the student. But the strange dialects 
of the Indian tribes are, many of them, crude 

Two Years of Apprenticeship 

and irregular in construction, often only dis- 
tantly related to one another, and in many 
ways excessively difficult to acquire ; although 
it should be mentioned that some of these 
tongues won the admiration of the mission- 
aries for completeness of construction. 

It was not given to every one of the Jes- 
uits to become an adept in even one of the 
rude tongues which were spoken by the bar- 
barians of Canada. Several of the learned 
fathers found it impossible to overcome the 
linguistic obstacles in their path, and were 
obliged either to return to France in despair 
or to take up parish work in the white set- 
tlements ; while others, although not daunted 
by the problem, were, to their great disap- 
pointment, and despite their devotion to the 
task, physically and mentally unable to be- 
come accustomed to the wretched life and 
food of an Indian camp. 

Young Father Marquette was, appar- 
ently, never a man of great strength, being 
fitted by physique to be a college professor 
rather than a tamer of savages. But he was 
made of stem stuff, and his natural aptitude 
for acquiring languages now stood him well 

Father Marquette 

in stead. He himself writes that he came to 
be expert in six Indian dialects, which is in- 
deed a remarkable record. Thus in many 
ways did this stout-hearted scholar of Laon 
resemble his great model, Saint Francois 
Xavier, who spoke numerous tongues, carried 
the gospel to many lands, and died alone in 
the wilderness. For such a career and such 
a death Marquette devoutly prepared him- 
self, hoping and praying for the very end 
which at last befell him. 

Marquette had not yet attained promi- 
nence in his order ; he was but one of many. 
Indeed, his death followed so closely upon 
his great explorations, that he himself never 
knew of the fame that he had won. The rec- 
ords of the time, therefore, contain no special 
mention of these two years of apprenticeship. 
But we know enough of the methods pursued 
to follow him clearly in imagination. He 
must have studied deep and hard with Father 
Drtlillettes, at first at Three Elvers, and later 
at shifting Indian camps upon the vast net- 
work of rivers and lakes which lies northward 
of the St Lawrence. 

It must not be supposed that the Jesuits, 

Two Years of Apprenticeship 

in iheir long black robes and shovel-shaped 
hats, were always welcome visitors among 
their savage hosts. The invitation to the 
missionaries to accompany them was often 
grudgingly given; or, if tendered in good 
faith, was apt soon to be regretted. 

From the pages of the Relations, wherein 
the exi)eriences of each Jesuit father are 
carefully given, we gain a vivid picture of 
life in the primeval forest as he lived it We 
seem to see him upon his long canoe voyages, 
squatted amid his dark-skinned compan- 
ions, working his passage at the paddles and 
carrying heavy loads upon the portage trail ; 
for the missionary, in order to keep the In- 
dians in good humor, was obliged to labor as 
hard as, if not harder than, any of them. We 
see him often the butt and scorn of the sav- 
age camp; sometimes he is deserted in the 
heart of the wilderness and obliged to wait 
by the side of the river, or upon an island, 
for another fleet of boats, or to make his way 
alone as best he may. When at last he has 
arrived at his joumey^s end, we often find 
him vainly seeking for shelter in the squalid 
huts of the natives, with every man's hand 

Father Marquette 

against him^ but his own heart open to all. 
We see him^ even when finally housed in some 
far-away village — ^perhaps in a little shelter 
of bark and reeds reared by his own bleed- 
ing hands — resorting to every known method 
of baptizing the young and the dying, either 
with or without their consent. 

The Indian ^^ medicine-men/' who are at 
once physicians and priests, rely for their 
success chiefly upon the supposed powers of 
magic, with many cheap tricks to affect the 
imagination of the people. The Jesuits 
called them ^^ sorcerers/' and soon found in 
them a serious obstacle to their work; for of 
course the trade of the medicine-man was 
gone, in a village wherein a Christian mis- 
sionary had won the faith of the people. 
Boused by the medicine-men, who invented 
strange tales regarding the missionaries, and 
perverted their every act into some mysteri- 
ous ceremony connected with the powers of 
evil, the Jesuit would often find a steadily 
growing spirit of opposition. This some- 
times would develop into a climax of super- 
stitious frenzy which swept him before it, 
and perhaps cost him his life. 

Two Years of Apprenticeship 

Affairs were not always in this gloomy 
stage. Now and then the "black robe," as 
he was called by the Indians^ found that his 
welcome lasted as long as his stay. But, at 
besty he must bear his full burden of the rude 
life upon the trail or the voyage, or in the 
camp ; must watch carefully the captious hu- 
mors of his dusky friends, being careful by 
no word, gesture, or expression to wound 
their sensitive spirits, which were as quick to 
resentment as is tinder to the kindling steel. 

In a circular of instructions issued in 
Paris to missionaries who were to accompany 
Indians in canoes up the Ottawa River to the 
Huron country, are these directions, which 
show us how careful were the Jesuit fathers 
to make themselves agreeable to the captious 
savages whom they sought to win to Chris- 
tianity : 

" You should love the Indians like broth- 
ers, with whom you are to dpend the rest of 
your life. — Never make them wait for you in 
embarking. — Take a flint and steel to light 
their pipes and kindle their fire at night; for 
these little services win their hearts. — Try 
to eat their sagamit^ as they cook it, bad and 

4 33 

Father Marquette 

dirty as it is. — Fasten up the skirts of your 
cassock^ that you may not carry water or sand 
into the canoe. — ^Wear no shoes or stock- 
ings in the canoe ; but you may put them on 
in crossing the portages. — Do not make 
yourself troublesome, even to a single In- 
dian. — Do not ask them too many questions. — 
Bear their faults in silence, and appear al- 
ways cheerful. — ^Buy fish for them from the 
tribes you will pass; and for this purpose 
take with you some awls, beads, knives, and 
fish-hooks. — ^Be not ceremonious with the In- 
dians ; take at once what they offer you : cere- 
mony offends them. — Be very careful, when 
in the canoe, that the brim of your hat does 
not annoy them. Perhaps it would be better 
to wear your night-cap. There is no such 
thing as impropriety among Indians. — Re- 
member that it is Christ and his cross that 
you are seeking; and if you aim at anything 
else, you will get nothing but affliction for 
body and mind.'' 

In the same vein are the following sug- 
gestions by another missionary of the time, 
which are selected from a long letter filled 
with similar good advice, counseling humil- 


Two Years of Apprenticeship 

ity, patience, and long suffering on the part 
of Jesuits who are to sjpend their lives with 
the Indians : 

*^ JoumeySy and the cabins of the savages, 
are truly schools of mortification, of patience, 
and of resignation. — More is gained with 
all the savages by j^entleness than by severity 
• • • and by patience than by anger. — ^It is 
well to do good to them, when the opportunity 
presents itself, and to assist them in their 
necessity; they remember and speak of it 
very frequently. — They are pleased with 
visits paid to their cabins, and consider them- 
selves despised or hated by the missionary 
who does not visit them. — They are like- 
wise pleased to find gratitude. — Nothing is 
ever lost by caressing the children, and by 
occasionally praising the young men and the 
hunters ; by respecting the old people ; by hon- 
oring the dead, and praying to God for them, 
etc. — One must not manifest any displeas- 
ure when the children scream or weep. — 
[The missionary] must, so far as possible, be 
ever gay and affable, and not be too famil- 
iar. — He must not be too long in saying 
prayers. — One must also avoid complain- 

Father Marquette 

ing of the food; — ^Unless [one] has great 
courage, and resolution to suffer, and some 
affection for the savages, he will have hardly 
any satisfaction." 

The Jesuit missionaries were not always 
alone in their work. Oftentimes they were 
accompanied by devout laymen, who freely 
gave their services to the assistance of the 
fathers ; these companions were called donnas 
(given men). Upon journeys they helped to 
paddle, and to carry loads over the portage 
trails or upon long marches through forests 
or across prairies; and sometimes were 
needed as protection to the missionaries. At 
mission stations they were useful in many 
ways. Some of them were trained physi- 
cians and nursed the sick, Indians and whites 
alike; others were armorers, and mended 
weapons and utensils for the savages; they 
hunted, fished, and raised rude crops for the 
fathers, who were thereby enabled more fully 
to visit the sick and the dying, instruct the 
tribesmen in the faith, conduct the offices of 
the church, and in general to forward their 
regular missionary work. The Jesuits be- 
came much attached to their faithful donnds ; 

Two Years of Apprenticeship 

and some of these assistants, like Gonpil, the 
companion of Father Jogues, suffered mar- 
tyrdom as truly as the missionaries them- 

In addition to the donnas, it sometimes 
was necessary at large missions to hire white 
men-servants to assist in the hard labor. 
Some of these men, donnas and servants, 
went into this work purely for the love of 
adventure, others as a means of learning for- 
est lore and the Indian languages. Many of 
them, after years of severe training, went 
forth from Jesuit service to become explor- 
ers for the government of New France, or to 
conduct fur-trading operations on their own 
account, through the vast region between the 
Alleghany and the Bocky Mountains. 

There is no doubt that during these two 
years, while a pupil of Father Drtiillettes, 
Marquette wandered far and wide through 
the wilderness of the lower St. Lawrence, 
and drank deep from the cup of experience ; 
for he appears to have emerged well-fitted 
to his task, being at once ordered to the far- 
thest outpost upon the borders of New 
France, the land of the Ottawas. 



In order to understand these Jesuit mis- 
sionsy whose story forms one of the most 
thrilling chapters in human history, it will be 
necessary for us to consider briefly the vari- 
ous tribes or nations of Indians among whom 
they worked. The active rivalries of these 
tribes were, perhaps, the greatest obstacle 
which the missionaries had to face. 

Were one asked to draw a map locating the 
several tribes at the time of Marquette, it 
would be impossible to do so, save in a gen- 
eral way. Owing to their wandering habits 
— sometimes ranging through hundreds of 
miles of wilderness, and frequently occupying 
land that had been but recently occupied by 
other bands — they shifted like the pieces of 
colored glass in a kaleidoscope. Then again, 
members of one tribe married into another, 
or were adopted; sometimes whole villages 

The Indians and the Missions 

or tribes were merged into other villages or 
tribeSy often as the result of wars ; frequently 
the missionaries found villages composed of 
groups of a half dozen or more distinct tribes 
that were friendly to one another. 

It is only in our day, when far more is 
known by scholars about the Indians, from a 
scientific point of view, than it was possible 
for the Jesuit missionaries to know, that it 
has been practicable to classify all these shift- 
ing and differing bands into groups or fami- 
lies ; and this is done through a careful study 
of their languages — ^those who spoke dialects 
similar in character being classed together. 
Exactly in the same manner we divide the 
different and often warring nations of Eu- 
rope into the Latin, the Slavic, and the Teu- 
tonic families, although all had a common 
origin in the old Aryan race. The American 
Indians are also of one race, from the Eski- 
mos to the Patagonians; but upon resem- 
blances in language we divide the Indians of 
North America, east of the Rocky Mountains, 
into families, the four most important being 
called Algonkins, Iroquoisi, Southern Indians, 
and Siouan. Like the members of the lin- 

Father Marquette 

goistic families of Europe, not all of the vari- 
ous tribes included in any of these Indian 
families were alike in physique, customs, or 
in degree of civilization. Indeed, taken as a 
whole, the tribesmen differed very greatly in 
appearance, habits, and intellect — ranging 
from the Southern barbarians, some of whose 
tribes had made good progress toward civ- 
ilization, down to the savage root-eaters of 
the Bocky Mountain region. 

The Algonkins were the most numerous, 
and occupied the greater part of our country 
from about Nashville, Tenn., northward to 
Hudson Bay, and from the Atlantic westward 
to the Mississippi Biver, and northwestward 
to the sources of the Saskatchewan. Their 
best-known tribes were the Indians of New 
England, those along the lower St. Law- 
rence Biver and northward, the Delawares, 
Miamis, Shawnese, Ottawas, Ojibwas, Sacs^ 
Foxes, Crees, Pottawattomies, and Illinois. 
These savages were rough in their life and 
manners, and intensely warlike; obtained 
their living from hunting and fishing, and a 
crude agriculture; lived in rude wigwams 
covered with bark, skins, or mats made of 

The Indians and the Missions 

reeds; and, although many had permanent 
villages^ wandered far and wide in search of 
fish, game, and furs, or upon the war-path. 
Of all our Indians, we hear most of these in 
history, because through their lands came the 
largest and most determined movement of 
white population, both French and English. 
It was formerly thought that the Algonkins 
were very numerous; but it is now known 
that probably at no time did they number 
over 95,000 souls, possibly not over 50,000. 
There were vast stretches of their territory 
wholly unoccupied by them; had it been 
otherwise, white men would have found 
the opposition to settlement too great for 
them to overcome, save by slow and painful 

The Iroquois occupied the greater part of 
New York State, much of Pennsylvania, the 
south shores of Lakes Erie and Ontario, and 
the upper St. Lawrence; they were planted 
like an island in the midst of the great Algon- 
kin sea. There were five principal tribes in 
tjiis family, — Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, 
Cayugas, and Senecas, — and these formed a 
confederacy which bears the name in English 

Father Marquette 

history of ** Five Nations," * although they 
called themselves " The Long House/* These 
five tribes sometimes were at war with one 
another, but usually they acted as a confed- 
eracy; and being the craftiest, most daring, 
and most intelligent Indians known to us, 
were the terror of every tribe east of the Mis- 
sissippi. They greatly disliked the French 
and all tribes who befriended the French. 
The Jesuits had more trouble with the Iro- 
quois than with all other Indians combined ; 
for the confederates — ^who lived chiefly in 
central New York, within villages guarded 
by stout walls of logs placed on end, called 
"palisades** — frequently raided lands into 
which the missionaries had ventured, and 
swept everything before them with fire and 
tomahawk, their war parties sometimes ven- 
turing as far west as Illinois and Wisconsin. 
These are the Indians of whom we read in 
Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. But the 
noble savage therein described is a creature 
of the novelist's fancy; the real Indian, even 
at his best, was a far less agreeable being. 

* After the Tnscaroras were taken into the league (1714-15)» 
it was called the "Six Nations." 


The Indians and the Missions 

The Hurons, lying to the east of the great 
lake of that name, had, although relatives, 
in 1649-50 been almost wholly exterminated 
by their " consins '* of the Five Nations. But 
in the very year and month of Marquette's 
arrival in Canada, the French severely pun- 
ished the confederates, who had so long been 
making life a torment in the colonies on the 
St. Lawrence. Their villages were burned, 
and they were obliged to ask for mercy and 
for the presence of the Jesuits. This peace 
lasted for twenty years. The Iroquois prob- 
ably numbered only 40,000 people — a remark- 
ably small population to play so important 
a part as they did in American history. 

The Southern (Maskoki) Indians occu- 
pied the country south of the Tennessee Riv- 
er, between the Mississippi and Savannah 
Rivers and the Atlantic. They were the 
Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, 
and Seminoles. Of a milder disposition than 
their northern neighbors, they were further 
advanced in civilization; indeed, by the time 
of our Revolutionary War, they were in some 
respects not far behind the white frontiers- 
men of that region. They numbered not 


Father Marquette 

above 50,000 persons. The Jesuits did not 
do much work among these tribes; but the 
black gowns found it much easier to convert 
them than the rude nations of the north. 

The Siouan (Sioux) family occupied for 
the most part the country beyond the Missis- 
sippi, although the Jesuits frequently met 
them to the east of the great river. They 
were and are a fierce, high-spirited people, 
who had little practise in agriculture, and 
wandered as freely as the Arab tribes; but, 
unlike the Arabs, they had no flocks, and war 
and hunting were their chief occupations^ 
The Jesuits went but little among them ; they 
met this family chiefly in the persons of the 
Winnebagoes, an outlying band which lived 
in Wisconsin and were in alliance with their 
Algonkin neighbors. 

A complete linguistic map of North Ameri- 
can Indians, at the time of European discov- 
ery, would show several other families east 
of .the Eocky Mountains — the Eskimos, 
along the coasts of Labrador, Hudson Bay, 
and more northern lands ; Beothukans, in 
Newfoundland; Ucheans, in Georgia; Timu- 
quanans, occupying the greater part of the 

The Indians and the Missions . 

Florida peninsula ; Caddoans, in Texas, E^an- 
sas, Nebraska, and North Dakota ; Tonikans, 
in Mississippi and Louisiana; Natchesans, 
Attacapans, Chitimachans, and Adaizans, in 
Louisiana; Tonkawans, Karankawans, and 
CoahuiltecanSy in Texas ; and Eiowans in Ne- 
braska, Wyoming, and Colorado ; besides out- 
lying groups of Iroquois in Virginia, North 
Carolina, and Mississippi, and of Algonkins 
in the Carolinas and Colorado. But, gener- 
ally speaking, the four principal families first 
enumerated were those with which the story 
of New France is most concerned. 

The tribes which the black gowns sought 
to bring to the Christian faith were, then, 
principally the Algonkins, the Hurons, and 
the Iroquois, and the Southern tribes in 
part. The field was enormous, being about 
two thousand miles in width, from Newfound- 
land to the head of Lake Superior, and a 
similar stretch from Hudson Bay to New Or- 
leans. It became necessary, as their work 
was extended with each discovery of new 
lands to the west and southwest, to divide it 
into seven great centers of activity, each with 
several missionaries, whose superior re- 

Father Marquette 

ported every year to the superior-general of 
the order in Qnebec what had been done in 
his own field. These varions missions were : 
That to the Abenakis of Acadia — ^the name 
given by the French to northeastern Maine, 
Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick — and of 
Cape Breton Island; that to the Montagnais 
Indians, as the tribes of the lower St. Law- 
rence and the Saguenay were called — Ta- 
doussac being the central station; the several 
missions at Quebec, Montreal, Three Rivers, 
and in that region, were united under com- 
mon control ; the mission to the Hurons, be- 
tween Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay, was, 
during much of its thirty-five years of exist- 
ence, the most dangerous of all, because of the 
stolid barbarism of these cousins of the Iro- 
quois, and later because the Hurons were fre- 
quently raided, and at last almost annihilated, 
by the Long House — a troublous period in 
which seven of the missionaries lost their 
lives in the work ; the Iroquois mission, which 
had a severe experience, its principal martyr 
being Father Jogues; the CHtawa mission^ 
about which we shall read in more detail upon 
later pages, because within this great field 

The Indians and the Missions 

Father Marquette was destined to labor ; and 
lastly, the Louisiana mission, to which he first 
pointed the way, but which was not estab- 
lished until after his death. 

Now that we know something of the task 
in which the Jesuit missionaries were en- 
gaged, we can better appreciate the work to 
which Marquette had consecrated his life, 
and can with some sympathy accompany him 
upon his brief but brilliant career. 




Upon the twenty-first of April, 1668, good 
Father le Mercier, the Jesuit superior-gen- 
eral, entered in the Journal kept by the mis- 
sionaries at their house upon the cliff of Que- 
bec, the fact that several of them were " go- 
ing to embark, to go up the river," to Mon- 
treal. Among the number were "Father 
Marquette, two men, and a young lad to 
await an opportunity of going to the Outa- 
wak [Ottawa] country." 

The tribes included in the Ottawa mission 
were the Ojibwas at Sault de Ste. Marie; 
the Beavers, the Crees, the Ottawas, and refu- 
gee Hurons on Lake Superior; the Menomo- 
nees, Pottawattomies, Sacs, Foxes, Winne- 
bagoes, Miamis, Illinois, and those of the 
Sioux who lived on or near the banks of the 
Mississippi. The Ottawas were the first In- 
dians from the upper Great Lakes to trade 
with the French, hence the vast district west 


Arrival at the Ottawa Mission 

of Lake Huron became earlj known as '^ the 
country of the Ottawas." 

In order to reach his new field of labor, 
it would be necessary for Marquette to wait 
at Montreal until he could join a party going 
thither, either of fur-traders or of Indians 
who were returning home after a visit to the 
French settlements on the St Lawrence. 
Such an expedition would necessarily pro- 
ceed in bark canoes by the laborious route 
of the Ottawa and Mattawan Rivers, the 
French River, and (Georgian Bay of Lake 
Huron. The question may naturally be 
asked, Why did the French pursue so labori- 
ous a path to the West as that of the Ottawa 
River t Why did they not take the natural 
route of the Great Lakes, as is done to-day f 
We have read, in the preceding chapter, that 
the dread Iroquois hated the French. Now 
the Iroquois, from their palisaded towns in 
New York, held firm control of Lake Erie. 
Indian tribes wishing to trade with the Dutch 
and the English at Albany (then called Fort 
Orange), who were the friends of the Long 
House, might upon this lake paddle their 
fleets of fur-laden canoes without hindrance, 
5 49 

Father Marquette 

and no donbt many white traders from Al- 
bany were similarly favored. But French- 
men and French-loving Indians must keep 
off. The result was that Huron was, so far 
as known records show, the first Great Lake 
seen by the French; next Ontario, next Su- 
perior, then Michigan, and lastly Erie. In 
the very next year after Marquette went 
to the Ottawa country, the Iroquois first al- 
lowed French traders to use the lake which 
had so long been closed to them; but it was 
not until thirty years later that the Ottawa 
ceased to be the principal trade-route to the 

No details have come down to us of the 
journey of Father Marquette to the Ottawa 
country. He and his three white compan- 
ions having joined a fleet bound thither, prob- 
ably made the trip without particular inci- 
dent ; otherwise the Jesuits' Journal or some 
letter of the period would most likely have 
chronicled the event. The country of the 
Hurons through which they passed had, as 
we have seen, been swept by Iroquois several 
years before, and was now almost without 
inhabitants ; the father was to see many mem- 


Arrival at the Ottawa Mission 

bers of this exiled tribe upon Lake Superior. 
Frequently canoe parties going up the Ottawa 
had encountered prowling bands from the 
Mohawk; but peace now prevailed, and the 
passage could be made with but small danger 
from enemies, although disasters from ship- 
wreck in the rapid current were not un- 

The traveler of to-day may follow very 
closely the route of Marquette from Montreal 
to Sault de Ste. Marie — ^wholly by rail, in 
drawing-room or sleeping-cars, or by rail to 
Owens Sound or CoUingwood, thence by 
well-appointed steamers through " the thirty 
thousand islands " of Georgian Bay, out into 
Lake Huron, and among the Manitoulin Is- 
lands to St. Marys River and the Sault. It 
is one of the most interesting inland water 
journeys to be undertaken in North America. 

Far different in manner and in speed, the 
method adopted by Father Marquette and his 
fellow-travelers two and a third centuries 
ago. In birch-bark canoes, white men and 
red, kneeling on rushes, bent to their paddles. 
Against the fierce currents, of the St. Law- 
rence and the Ottawa but few miles could 


Father Marquette 

be covered in a day; even in descending 
French Biver, they probably progressed no 
more than thirty-five or forty miles between 
dawn and sunset; while upon the still waters 
of the lakeSy perhaps twenty miles was their 
longest run, with wind and weather in their 
favor. But interrupting them must have 
been frequent head gales and waves too bois- 
terous for the cautious Indians, who ventured 
not upon rough seas. On such occasions they 
camped upon the shore in the shelter of the 
woods, until the wind had gone down and the 
sea was again quiet. 

Thus did our travelers creep along the 
lee banks of the St. Lawrence and up through 
the rocky defiles of the Ottawa and its west- 
em tributary, the Mattawan, with frequent 
carries around rapids and cataracts, and no 
doubt many a weary parley with visiting 
bands of greasy savages who came long dis- 
tances through the woods and along tributary 
waterways to gaze with idle curiosity upon 
and to beg trinkets of the black robe. Fol- 
lowing a portage trail to Lake Nipissing, the 
travelers reembarked upon those island- 
strewn waters and finally emerged into Lake 

Arrival at the Ottawa Mission 

Huron by way of French River, Then slowly 
their canoes wended through the maze of 
forested islands in Georgian Bay and along 
the bold shores of the lake beyond. Upon 
their right gloomy pine forests swept down 
in solemn grandeur to the water's edge, or 
thickly mantled the towering bluffs; while 
to their left the dark-green waters stretched 
to the horizon in sublimity. The frail barks 
were often tossed about like chips in the 
white-capped swells that swept with little 
warning around the headlands. 

Thus, through storm and calm, they pur- 
sued their spasmodic voyage, picking up their 
food as they went along from the water and 
the forest, children of nature alone in the 
wilderness. At last the shore lines led them 
to the tortuous River of St. Mary, the outlet 
of Lake Superior. Some forty-five miles up 
this stream, and fifteen miles below White- 
fish Bay, at the foot of Lake Superior, they 
encountered the broad cataract called the 
Sault de Ste. Marie, upon whose banks — ^wide 
flats, hemmed in with rounded, wooded hills 
some three hundred feet high — there was a 
large village of Ojibwas. This was the 

Father Marquette 

seat of the Ottawa mission, in the journey to 
which Marquette had spent probably the 
greater part of the summer. 

The Ojibwas at the Sault had first been 
visited by Fathers Jogues and Baymbault in 
1641. But nineteen years elapsed before an- 
other Jesuit arrived upon the scene. In 1660 
the veteran Father Menard, who was accom- 
panying a large party of Ottawas, stopped 
here on his way to Keweenaw Bay, on Lake 
Superior, where, a little later, he held the 
first Christian service heard on the shores of 
the northern sea. After a wretched winter 
on that inhospitable coast, spent in a rude hut 
of fir boughs, with savage neighbors who 
mocked and annoyed him, he journeyed in- 
land to the south to visit some Hurons who, 
having fled both from the Iroquois and the 
Sioux, were dwelling in the gloomy pine for- 
est about the upper waters of Black Biver, 
in what is now Wisconsin. In August, 1661, 
he lost his life at a portage on the Wisconsin 
Biver, thus being the first martyr upon the 
Ottawa mission. 

Four years later Father Claude Allouez 
set out for Lake Superior, and went to Che- 


Arrival at the Ottawa Mission 

quamegon Bay, whither we shall, in our next 
chapter, accompany Father Marquette. To 
the Sault there came, about this time. Father 
Louis Nicolas, under the direction of Allouez, 
who was then superintending missionary ef- 
forts in this field. Apparently Marquette 
was to serve as the successor of Nicolas. As 
has been previously pointed out, the mission- 
aries were sent hither and thither by their 
superior-general at Quebec as seemed best 
for the service. 

In the early days of the Huron mission 
the outlook appeared highly promising; but 
we know the evil days which afterward befell 
it. So in regard to the Ottawa country, the 
Relations of the first two years are aglow 
with the spirit of confidence. The mission- 
aries were everywhere greeted by large audi- 
ences, and much curiosity was exhibited con- 
cerning the ceremonies of the church; but, as 
usual, the wandering habits of the Indians 
made instruction difficult, and the result, 
while less tragic, was hardly more satisfac- 
tory than in Huronia. The Jesuit fathers, 
with great toil and misery, and subject to 
daily danger and insult, followed their people 


Father Marquette 

on long hunting and fishing expeditions ; and 
even when the hands had returned to the 
squalid villages, life there was almost as 
comfortless as upon the trail. 

The Relation for 1668-69 thus hopefully 
refers to the work in the Lake Superior dis- 
trict: ^^ The Mission of the Outaouacs is now 
one of the finest in new Prance. The scarcity 
of all things, the brutal disposition of those 
Savages, the remote situation, — ^three or four 
hundred leagues away, — ^the number of the 
tribes, and the promise that an entire nation . 
has just made to Father Aloez [Allouez] 
after a general council, to embrace the Chris- 
tian Faith — all these are things that make all 
our Missionaries wish for that Mission with 
a very ardent zeal." 

The author of the Relation, Father le Mer- 
cier, writing probably in the autumn of 1669, 
describes affairs at the Sault, as they have 
been described to him by Allouez, who went 
down to Quebec that summer to seek reen- 
forcements: "The first place where one 
meets those upper nations, who are almost 
all Algonqioin, is the Sault, more than two 
hundred leagues distant from Quebec. It is 


Arrival at the Ottawa Mission 

there that the Missionaries have stationed 
themselves, as the place best suited for their 
Apostolic labors, — the other tribes having 
been accustomed for some years to betake 
themselves thither, in order to go down to 
Mont-real or Quebec to trade. A location 
has been chosen at the foot of the Bapids in 
the River, on the South side, nearly under 
the 46th degree of Latitude ; and the cold is 
much less severe there than it is here, al- 
though we are in nearly the same latitude.*' 
This report from Marquette, giving the 
result of his first winter's work, closes the en- 
couraging account of the Ottawa mission: 
" Father Marquette writes us from the Sault 
that the harvest [of souls] there is very 
abundant, and that it only rests with the Mis- 
sionaries to baptize the entire population, to 
the number of two thousand. Thus far, how- 
ever, our Fathers have not dared to trust 
those people, who are too acquiescent, fear- 
ing lest they will, after their Baptism, cling 
to their customary superstitions. Especial 
attention is given to instructing them, and 
to baptizing the dying, who are a surer har- 




In the Relation for 1666-67, which must 
have been written about the time that Father 
Marquette arrived at the Sault, Father le 
Mereier devotes a chapter to the Ottawa mis- 
sion. He gives us this rather forbidding ac- 
count of the people of the Sault de Ste. 
Marie, among whom our hero was now to 
labor : 

"Toil, famine, scarcity of all things, ill 
treatment from the Barbarians, and mockery 
from the Idolaters, form the most precious 
portion of these Missions. 

" As these Tribes have, for the most part, 
never had any intercourse with Europeans, 
it is difficult to imagine the excess of inso- 
lence to which their Barbarism carries them, 
and the patience with which one • must be 
armed, in order to bear with them. 

"We have to do with twenty or thirty 
Nations, all different in language, customs, 

The Sault and Its People 

and Policy. We have to bear everything 
from their bad humor and their brutality, in 
order to win them by gentleness and affec- 
tion. One must make himself, in some sort, 
a Savage with these Savages, and lead a Sav- 
age's life with them ; and live sometimes on 
a moss that grows on the Bocks, sometimes 
on pounded fishbones, — a substitute for flour, 
— and sometimes on nothing, — passing three 
or four days without eating, as they do, 
whose stomachs are inured to these hard- 
ships. But they also eat without inconve- 
nience, in a single day, enough for a week, 
when they have an abundance of game or 
of fish. Fathers Claude Allo6z and Louys 
Nicolas have passed through these trials; 
and if penances and mortifications contribute 
greatly to the conversion of Souls, it can be 
said that they lead a life more austere than 
that of the greatest Penitents of the Thebaid, 
and yet do not cease to occupy themselves 
indefatigably in their Apostolic functions. 
These are: Baptizing the children, teaching 
the Adults, comforting the sick and prepar- 
ing them for Heaven, overthrowing Idolatry, 
and making the utterance of their message 

Father Marquette 

resound to the extremities of this end of the 

" Father Jacques Marquette went to their 
aid, with our Brother Louys le Boeme; and 
we hope the sweat of these brave Mis- 
sionarieSy which is watering those lands, will 
render them fertile for Heaven. Within a 
year they have Baptized eighty children, 
of whom several are in Paradise. That 
mitigates all their hardships, and fortifies 
them to undergo all the labors of that 

Father Dablon, a veteran from the Iro- 
quois country, arrived at the Sault in the 
summer of 1669, to succeed AUouez as su- 
perior of the Ottawa mission. After a year's 
experience in the Lake Superior country, 
Dablon wrote to Le Mercier, and his letter 
appears in the Relation of 1669-70. It will 
interest us to read some extracts therefrom, 
for by this means we shaU learn something 
more of the life which Father Marquette had 
been leading during his year at the Sault, 
and the sort of people among whom his lines 
were cast. 

Here is a graphic word-picture of the 

The Sauk and Its People 

Sault itself) and the Indians who assembled 

^^What is commonly called the Sault is 
not properly a Sault, or a very high water- 
fall, but a very violent current of waters 
from Lake Superior, — ^which, finding them- 
selves checked by a great niunber of rocks 
that dispute their passage, form a dangerous 
cascade of half a league in width, all these 
waters descending and plunging headlong to- 
gether, as if by a flight of stairs, over the 
rocks which bar the whole river. 

'^ It is three leagues below Lake Superior, 
and twelve leagues above the Lake of the 
Hurons, this entire extent making a beauti- 
ful river, cut up by many Islands, which di- 
vide it and' increase its width in some places 
so that the eye cannot reach across. It flows 
very gently through almost its entire course, 
being difficult of passage only at the Sault 

^^It is at the foot of these rapids, and 
even amid these boiling waters, that exten- 
sive fishing is carried on, from Spring until 
Winter, of a kind of fish found usually only 
ii^ Lake Superior and Lake Huron. It is 
called in the native language Atticameg, and 


Father Marquette 

in ours * whitefish,' because in truth it is very 
white; and it is most excellent, so that it fur- 
nishes food, ahnost by itself, to the greater 
part of all these peoples. 

"Dexterity and strength are needed for 
this kind of fishing; for one must stand up- 
right in a bark Canoe, and there, among the 
whirlpools, with muscles tense, thrust deep 
into the water a rod, at the end of which is 
fastened a net made in the form of a pocket, 
into which the fish are made to enter. One 
must look for them as they glide between 
the Bocks, pursue them when they are seen; 
and, when they have been made to enter the 
net, raise them with a sudden strong pull 
into the canoe. This is repeated over and 
over again, six or seven large fish being 
taken each time, until a load of them is ob- 

" Not all persons are fitted for this fish- 
ing; and sometimes those are found who, by 
the exertion they are forced to make, over- 
turn the Canoe, for want of possessing suf- 
ficient skill and experience. 

" This convenience of having fish in such 
quantities that one has only to go and draw 

The Sauk and Its People 

them out of the water, attracts the surround- 
ing Nations to the spot during the Summer. 
These people, being wanderers, without fields 
and without com, and living for the most 
part only by fishing, find here the means to 
satisfy their wants; and at the same time 
we embrace the opportunity to instruct them 
and train them in Christianity during their 
sojourn in this place. 

"Therefore we have been obliged to es- 
tablish here a permanent Mission, which we 
call sainte Marie du Sault, which is the cen- 
ter for the others, as we are here surrounded 
by different Nations, of which the following 
are those which sustain relations to the place, 
repairing hither to live on its fish. 

" The principal and native Inhabitants of 
this district are those who call themselves 
Pahouitingwdch Iriniy and whom the French 
call Saulteurs [Ojibwas], because it is they 
who live at the Sault as in their own Coun- 
try, the others being there only as borrow- 
ers. They comprise only a hundred and fifty 
souls, but have united themselves with three 
other Nations which number more than five 
hundred and fifty persons, to whom they 


Father Marquette 

have, as it were, made a cession of the rights 
of their native Country; and so these live 
here permanently, except the time when they 
are out hunting. Next come those who are 
called the Nouquet, who extend toward the 
South of Lake Superior, whence they take 
their origin; and the Outohibous, together 
with the Marameg, toward the North of the 
same Lake, which region they regard as their 
own proper Country, 

^^ Besides these four Nations there are 
seven others dependent on this Mission. The 
people called Achiligouiane, the Amicoures, 
and the Mississague fish here, and hunt on 
the Islands and in the regions round about 
Lake Huron; they number more than four 
hundred souls. 

"Two other Nations, to the number of 
five hundred souls, — entirely nomadic, and 
with no fixed abode, — ^go towards the lands 
of the North to hunt during the Winter, and 
return hither to fish during the Summer. 

"There remain six other Nations, who 

are either people from the North Sea, as the 

Guilistinons [Crees] and the Ovenibigonc 

[Winnebagoes], or wanderers in the regions 


The Sault and Its People 

aronnd that same North Sea, — ^the greater 
part of them having been driven out of their 
Country by famine, and repairing hither 
from time to time to enjoy the abundance of 
fish here/' 

And then the writer goes on at much 
length to say that the missionaries have re- 
solved to make, in the near future, an expe- 
dition to Hudson Bay, chiefly to find, if pos- 
sible, a supposed waterway leading to Asia. 
Like other citizens of New France, the Jes- 
uits were always eager for exploration, and 
the vague reports which the Indians brought 
from the extreme north quickened their im- 
aginations. Joliet and Marquette's discov- 
ery of the Mississippi, soon after this, turned 
their attention toward the south; although 
thirteen years later (1686) one of their num- 
ber did reach Hudson Bay in the company 
of French soldiers who went thither to drive 
away the encroaching English. 

From the earliest period of the Jesuit 
missions, the wandering habit of the Indians 
prevented the missionaries from obtaining 
a deep hold on the people, particularly the 
young ; efforts were therefore made through- 
• 65 

Father Marquette 

out many years, on the lower St. Lawrence 
Biver, to gather the savages into villages, 
called " reductions/' where they could prac- 
tise agriculture and be under the constant 
supervision and teaching of the priests. This 
was not possible at the Sault, but Father 
Dablon writes: 

"To render them more stationary, we 
have fixed our abode here, where we cause 
the soil to be tilled, in order to induce them 
by our example to do the same ; and in this 
several have already begun to imitate us. 

" Moreover, we have had a Chapel erect- 
ed, and have taken care to adorn it, going 
further in this than one would dare promise 
himself in a Country so destitute of all 
things. We there administer Baptism to 
children as weU as Adults, with all the cere- 
monies of the Church ; and admonish the new 
Christians during the holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass. The old men attend on certain days 
to hear the word of God, and the children 
gather there every day to learn the Prayers 
and the Catechism.'' 



Near the southwest comer of Lake Su- 
perior there is a deep notch cut in the line 
of shore.^ This arm of the great lake has 
from the earliest historic times been known 
as Chequamegon Bay. To the east of the 
bay, a natural breakwater separating it from 
the outer sea, lies a narrow spit of sand and 
gravel some six miles long, called by the 
French, from its shape, " La Pointe ; " upon 
the north several rocky, wooded islands, the 
Apostles group, hem in Chequamegon and 
serve as a windbreak; the western shores 
are often steep cliffs of brown sandstone, 
crowned with a dark forest of pine. This 
graceful land-locked harbor, in size about 
twelve miles long by five wide, is one of the 
beauty-spots of the western waters. 

To the shores of Chequamegon numerous 
Indian tribes habitually resorted, especially 
in the fishing seasons; partly because here, 


Father Marquette 

as at the Sault, fish were unusually plentiful, 
but also because the bay was isolated and 
seemed to afford a secure refuge against the 
Iroquois of the East and the Sioux of the 
West Here, too, were portiyge trails lead- 
ing over to the headwaters of several south- 
flowing streams — ^the St, Croix, Black, Chip- 
pewa, and Wisconsin Rivers; and we shall 
see that at Chequamegon Bay Marquette 
met Indians from the Mississippi, which is 
not far distant to the southwest, and gained 
his first information regarding the great 
waterway with which his name will forever 
be associated. When the Hurons fled before 
the Iroquois raids in Huronia, they first tar- 
ried at the straits of Mackinac. But here 
the Iroquois discovered them, and, with Ot- 
tawas and Ojibwas from the Sault de Ste. 
Marie, they dispersed as far northward as 
Point Keweenaw, on Lake Superior. Still 
fearing the Iroquois, who speedily ascer- 
tained their whereabouts, they retreated into 
Wisconsin; finally, after many adventures, 
settling upon an island in the Mississippi 
River, a few miles above Lake Pepin — oppo- 
site the present Red Wing, Minnesota. The 


At La Pointe Mission 

SiouXy in whose country they now were, 
treated them with marked hospitality, which 
they repaid with such insolence that their 
hosts turned upon them and they were 
ohliged again to flee. The majority of the 
Hnrons hid themselves in the forest npon 
the headwaters of the Black Biver; we have 
seen that, in trying to reach them, Father 
Menard lost his life. The Ottawas and the 
remaining Hnrons fled to the fishing-ground 
of Ohequamegon Bay, whence, in case of at- 
tack, they could readily escape into the al- 
most inaccessihle swamps lying just over the 
watershed to the southward. 

So far as we know, the first white men 
to visit Ohequamegon Bay were Badisson 
and Groseilliers, two French fur-traders in 
whose company poor Father Menard had 
traveled as far as Keweenaw Bay. The 
traders, in their hark canoes laden with 
goods, had pushed on to Ohequamegon, and 
there (in the autumn of 1659) huilt a little 
log fort to protect themselves and their 
wares. After trading with the Indians far 
and near — exchanging guns, hatchets, ket- 
tles, and trinkets of glass, silver, and hrass, 

Father Marquette 

for the skins of fur-bearing animals — ^they 
made long expeditions into the wilderness^ 
going as far into the northwest as Lake As- 
siniboine. It is thought by some historians 
thaty four years before this (in 1655 ), upon 
a previous visit to central Wisconsin, they 
discovered the Mississippi Biver — eighteen 
years before Joliet and Marquette; but con- 
cerning this we shall, in a subsequent chap- 
ter, have more to say. 

The place where Badisson and Groseil- 
liers built their log hut, generally considered 
as the first dwelling erected by white men 
on the shores of Lake Superior, appears, so 
far as we can now judge, to have been upon 
the mainland, between the modem towns of 
Ashland and Washburn. Six years later 
(October, 1665) Father AUouez came to Che- 
quamegon to open a mission to the Indians. 
He chose his site not far from the spot where 
the fur-traders' hut had been erected — pos- 
sibly at the mouth of Vanderventers Creek. 
The long, sandy breakwater which guards 
the bay to the east is a conspicuous object 
in the view, and led AUouez to name his mis- 
sion and the locality ^^La Pointe du Saint 


At La Pointe Mission 

Esprit^' (Point of the Holy Spirit). This 
name came in time to be shortened to La 
Pointe, commonly used to represent the en- 
tire region around Chequamegon Bay. We 
also shall find it convenient to adopt the 
term in this sense. 

When AUonez arrived at La Pointe, he 
found encamped there representatives of 
several friendly tribes — Ojibwas, Pottawat- 
tomies, Eickapoos, Sacs, and Foxes, all of 
them Wisconsin savages ; besides these, Hu- 
rons and Ottawas, who had fled in droves 
from the east and the south before the ad- 
vance of their Iroquois tormentors; and 
Miamis and Illinois, who came chiefly to 
trade. On or near the shores of the bay 
were five villages, whose people lived chiefly 
" on fish and com, and rarely by hunting." 
Fifty villages, far and near, and a popula- 
tion af about fifteen hundred souls were, 
however, connected with the mission, and 
among all of these the Jesuits were expected 
to labor. 

Allouez at once attracted large congrega- 
tions of natives, who, bedecked in paint and 
feathers, and wearing robes of fur, assem- 

Father Marquette 

bled out of curiosity to see and hear the 
strange black gown. But he was soon sadly 
treated by them, and won the hearts of only 
a small band of followers. For four years 
he labored alone in this wide wilderness, hop- 
ing against hope, varying the monotony of 
his dreary task by occasional canoe voyages 
to Quebec, distant over a thousand miles by 
water, to report to his superior-general. 

Finally, Allouez becoming discouraged, it 
was thought best to send him to found a mis- 
sion on the Fox River, near Green Bay, 
among more favorable surroundings, and to 
replace him at La Pointe by a more youth- 
ful and less jaded missionary. Marquette 
was accordingly, upon the arrival of Dablon 
at the Sault, sent to relieve Allouez at this 
the farthest western outpost of French influ- 
ence in North America. It proved a forlorn 
hope worthy the bravery of any of the sol- 
diers who, in olden times, went forth to battle 
from the creaking gates of Laon. 

It was with no trembling that young Fa- 
ther Marquette set forth upon his hazard- 
ous enterprise. Here, rather, was at last 
what he had long prayed for. We find in his 


At La Pointe Mission 

report to Father le Mercier, published in 
the Eelation of 1669-70, a subdued note of 
triumph at this fulfihnent of his ambition. 
It is an interesting letter, filled with minute 
particulars of the people and of his work 
among them, written after a winter of ex- 
perience. Too long to repeat here in full, 
we may, however, profit from a few extracts 
— remembering that in those early days 
there was no regular method of spelling In- 
dian names, the missionaries simply giving 
them in a crude fashion as they were pro- 
nounced. Indeed, spelling, punctuation, and 
use of capitals, in either French or English, 
were not then, as they are to-day, regulated 
by well-established rules. 

Marquette says that, coming direct from 
the Sault, he arrived at La Pointe upon the 
thirteenth of September (1669), after "a 
Voyage of a month amid snow and ice, which 
blocked our passage, and amid almost con- 
stant dangers of death;" which serves to 
illustrate the earliness of the winter season 
in this northern region. He went at once to 
visit the Indians in the neighboring clear- 
ings. " The Hurons, to the number of four 


Father Marquette 

or five hundred souls^ almost all baptized, 
still preserve a little Christianity. Some of 
the chief men, assembled in a council, were 
very glad to see me at first; but when I in- 
formed them that I did not yet know their 
language perfectly, and that no other father 
was coming to the place, — both because they 
had all gone to the Iroquois; and because 
Father Allouez, who understood them thor- 
oughly, had been unwilling to return to them 
for this Winter, because they did not take 
enough interest in Prayer, — they acknowl- 
edged that they were well deserving of this 
punishment. Since then they have spoken 
of the matter during the Winter, .and re- 
solved to do better, as they have declared 
to me." 

Some of the other tribes, however, he 
thinks " very far from the Kingdom of God. 
. . . They turn Prayer to ridicule, and 
scarcely will they hear us speak of Christi- 
anity; they are proud, and without intelli- 
gence.'^ In such cases he contents himself 
with baptizing the sick and dying. 

The father relates many curious incidents 
of his attempts, not always successful, to 


At La Pointe Mission 

combat the idolatries of the savages. One 
of the clans of Ottawas, it appears, had in a 
formal council of the tribe promised Father 
Allouez to receive the Gospel. To them Mar- 
quette promptly went upon his arrival, and 
thus tells of his reception : " All the Chris- 
tians were in their fields, harvesting the In- 
dian com. They heard me with pleasure 
when I told them that I came to la pointe 
only out of consideration for them and for 
the Hurons; that they should never be for- 
saken, but cherished more warmly than all 
the other nations; and that they had only 
one common interest with the French. I had 
the consolation of seeing their fondness for 
prayer, and the great account they make of 
being Christians; I baptized the new-bom 
babes, and visited the Elders, whom I found 
all favorably disposed; and when the Chief 
had permitted that a dog should be sus- 
pended from a pole near his Cabin, — a kind 
of sacrifice that the Savages make to the Sun, 
— and I had told him that was not right, he 
went himself at once and threw it down. A 
sick man, instructed but not yet baptized, 
begged me to grant him that grace, or else 


Father Marquette 

to remain near him, because he did not wish 
to employ the juggler for his cure, and he 
was afraid of Hell-fire. I prepared him for 
Baptism, and was often in his Cabin, the joy 
that he felt in consequence partly restoring 
his health. He thanked me for the care that 
I had taken of him, and soon after, saying 
that I had given him his life, he gave me a 
present of a slave that had been brought to 
him from the Illinois, two or three months 

Previous to his starting for Chequame- 
gon, Marquette had received orders to es- 
tablish a mission among the Illinois Indians 
as soon as he could in turn be relieved. This 
fact induces him to learn whatever he can 
concerning them from the representatives of 
the tribe at La Pointe. In this letter, there- 
fore, we obtain our first glimpse of the peo- 
ple among whom Marquette was soon to pass 
his last days. The Illinois, he says, ^^are 
distant from la pointe thirty days' journey 
by land, by a very difficult route." They 
" are mainly gathered in two Villages, con- 
taining more than eight or nine thousand 


At La Pointe Mission 

The Illinois are worshipers of the son 
and of thunder^ but he thinks them well in- 
clined to Christianity; for Father Allonez 
had exercised considerable influence over 
those of the tribe who had heard him at La 
Pointe. " Those whom I have seen," writes 
Marquette, " seem to be of a tolerably good 
disposition « . . and they promise me to 
embrace Christianity, and observe all that I 
shall say in the Country. With this purpose 
in view, the Outaouaks gave me a young man 
who had lately come from the Illinois, and 
he furnished me the rudiments of the lan- 
guage, during the leisure allowed me by the 
Savages of la Pointe in the course of the 
Winter. One can scarcely understand it, al- 
though it is somewhat like the Algonquin; 
still I hope, by the Grace of God, to under- 
stand and be understood, if God in his good- 
ness lead me to that Coimtry/' 

Then he alludes, but modestly and without 
complaint, to some of the disagreeable fea- 
tures of missionary life, showing that he had 
a clear head, and was not beguiled by these 
fair promises of the savages from the south: 
^^ One must not hope that he can avoid Cross- 

Father Marquette 

es in any of our Missions; and the best 
means to live there contentedly is not to fear 
them. • • • After the fashion of the sav- 
ages, the Illinois wish for us in order that 
we may share their miseries with them, and 
suffer every imaginable hardship of bar- 
barism. They are lost sheep, that must be 
sought for among the thickets and woods." 

The Illinois, he tells us, " journey always 
by land; they raise Indian com, which they 
have in great abundance, have squashes as 
large as those of France, and have a great 
many roots and fruits. There is fine hunt- 
ing there of Wild Cattle, Bears, Stags, Tur- 
keys, Ducks, Bustards, Pigeons, and Cranes. 
The people quit their Village some time in 
the year, to go all together to the places 
where the animals are killed, and better to 
resist the enemy who come to attack them. 
They believe that, if I go to them, I shall 
establish peace everywhere, that they will 
always live in one place, and that it will be 
only the young men who will go hunting." 

And now we come to his first mention of 
the Mississippi Biver, which henceforth be- 
came the goal of his ambition: ^^When the 

At La Pointe Mission 

niinois come to la Pointey they cross a great 
river which is nearly a league in width, flows 
from North to South, and to snch a distance 
that the Illinois, who do not know what a 
Canoe is, have not yet heard any mention of 
its month. They simply know that there are 
some very large Nations lower down than 
themselves, some of whom, towards the East- 
Sontheast of their Country, raise two crops 
of Indian com in a year. A Nation that they 
call Chaonanon [Shawnee] came to see them 
last Summer; and this young man who has 
heen given me, and is teaching me the lan- 
guage, saw them. They are laden with glass 
Beads, which shows that they have communi- 
cation with Europeans. They had come over- 
land a journey of nearly thirty days, before 
reaching the Country. It is hard to believe 
that that great Biver discharges its waters 
in Virginia, and we think rather that it has 
its mouth in California. If the Savages 
who promise to make me a Canoe do not 
break their word to me, we shall explore this 
Biver as far as we can, with a Frenchman 
and this young man who was given me, who 
knows some of those languages and has a 


Father Marquette 

facility for learning the others. We shall 
visit the Nations dwelling there^ in order to 
open the passage to such of our Fathers as 
have been awaiting this good fortune for so 
long a time. This discovery will give us full 
knowledge either of the South Sea or of the 
Western Sea." 

In the paragraph just quoted above, we 
obtain a glimpse of the hazy notions which 
learned people entertained at that time con- 
cerning the interior of our continent. It will 
be remembered that Columbus died in the 
belief that he had reached the eastern shores 
of India. Even when it was discovered that 
a continent lay between Europe and India, 
navigators thought that it could be but a nar- 
row body of land. Jean Nicolet, the explor- 
ing agent of Governor Champlain of New 
France, visited the West in 1634, only thirty- 
five years before Marquette's letter, and sup- 
posing that he was to meet Chinamen in Wis- 
consin, prepared a gown of Chinese damask 
in which to array himself for the ceremony. 
Marquette himself thought that the ^^ South 
Sea '^ or the " Western Sea '* — as the Pacific 
Ocean was then variously called by the 

At La Pointe Mission 

French — ^was not far distant from Lake Su- 
perior. Some geographers of his time had 
claimed that the Mississippi flowed south- 
eastward and emptied into the Atlantic 
Ocean through Virginia; others, that it 
poured into the South Sea, or Pacific, 
through California, which was believed to 
be much nearer than it finally proved to be. 
To the South Sea theory Marquette leaned; 
but the South Sea into which the Mississippi 
was found to flow is a sea of which the good 
father had but scanty knowledge — ^the Gulf 
of Mexico — or the " Gulf of Florida,'' as some 
of his contemporaries called it. 

We learn from this letter of the mission- 
ary to his superior many interesting things 
about the brown children of the forest whom 
he meets at La Pointe — ^most of them un- 
favorable, a few praiseworthy. There are, 
he hears, nations living pn the Ohio ^^ who use 
wooden Canoes." The Illinois " are war- 
riors and take a great many Slaves, whom 
they trade with the Outaouaks for Muskets, 
Powder, Kettles, Hatchets, and Knives.'' 
The Sioux, a large nation who live to the 
southwest of La Pointe, ^' are the Iroquois of 
7 81 

Father Marquette 

this coimtry ; " their villages are numerous, 
and " extend over a great deal of territory* 
Their manners and customs are quite ex- 
traordinary: they chiefly adore the Calumet 
[pipe of peace], and say not a word at their 
feasts ; and, when any stranger arrives, they 
feed him with a wooden fork, as one would 
a child. All the nations of the Lake make 
war on them, but with little success. They 
have the wild oats, use little Canoes, and 
keep their word inviolate. ... I could wish 
that all the Nations had as much love for 
God as these people have fear of the French; 
Christianity would soon be flourishing.'^ 
The Assiniboines told him of Lake Winne- 
peg, and reported seeing Frenchmen there 
in canoes with sails. The Crees dwell to the 
northwest of La Pointe, ^^ are always in the 
woods, and have only the Bow to live by." 

It is fortunate for us that the Jesuit mis- 
sionaries were obliged by a rule of their 
order to keep diaries of their work and notes 
of their impressions of what was seen and 
heard. To that rule we owe such letters as 
this one by Father Marquette. Were it not 
for tiiese we should have but imperfect 

At La Pointe Mission 

knowledge of how unwearyingly the mission- 
ary of La P<»nte toiled for the conversion 
of the heathen, or what sort of folk were 
the strange tribes to whom he ministered, 
at the time when first they came nnder the 
influence of white men. 




The French, in the course of their long 
and hazardous explorations throughout the 
interior of our continent, were not only en- 
gaged in the fur trade and in converting the 
savages. As opportunity arose, they were 
seeking deposits of lead, iron, copper, and 
the more valuable metals. We find in the 
Jesuit Relations numerous references to this 
pursuit of new mines. The missionaries 
were themselves much interested in the 
search, especially for copper, which was 
then scarcer than it is to-day. 

In the Relations for 1669-70, Father le 
Mercier has an entire chapter " On the cop- 
per mines which are found in Lake Supe- 
rior." We now know that the great deposits 
of copper in this region lie upon the south- 
eastern shore of the lake, in upper Michigan, 
and on Isle Royale, near the north shore. 

Lake Superior Abandoned 

But in those early days there was much un- 
certainty as to their location. 

The Indians were used to mining copper 
in a rude way, chiefly on Isle Royale ; from it 
they made axes, knives, spear-heads, beads, 
and other weapons, utensils, and ornaments. 
The chance visitor to lonely Isle Royale may 
to this day discover, scattered about in the 
pine forests and half -filled with the d^ris 
of two or more centuries, hundreds of the 
deep pits from which brown men of old ex- 
tracted their copper ore. Clean one of these 
pits of its rubbish, and there will be brought 
to light the rude ladders and stone tools of 
the ancient miners, and possibly evidences of 
the fires which they built to soften the ore 
before breaking it from the veins. 

Owing to the wandering habits of the sav- 
ages and their custom of bartering goods 
with other tribes, articles of copper became 
distributed all over the Northwest, although 
mostly in Wisconsin. White men finding 
these articles, also pieces of "float copper,^^ 
borne by glaciers to far-distant points, were 
at first misled as to the whereabouts of the 
mines. The ordinary Indian, unless he him- 


Father Marquette 

self lived in the copper country, had very 
little notion of where it was ; then again, the 
Indians who did know would not say much 
about it, because they believed that certain 
powerful spirits lived in the ore veins who 
would punish them for telling the palefaces 
where they dwelt. It is small wonder that 
the Jesuit fathers encountered difficulties in 
seeking mines. 

Le Mercier writes that the missionaries 
have at last discovered that Isle Royale — ^he 
calls it the " isle of Minong " — is particularly 
renowned among the Indians for its copper 
mines. ^^ The Savages say that it is a float- 
ing Island, which is sometimes afar off, 
sometimes near, according to the winds that 
push it and drive it in all directions.*' None 
of the missionaries have yet reached it, but 
hope to begin discoveries there in the follow- 
ing smnmer, ^'when we go in search of lost 
and wandering sheep all through the region 
of that great Lake." As for the floating- 
island theory, it is shrewdly guessed that the 
^^ mists with which it is often laden, by be- 
coming thin or dense under the Sun's rays, 
make the Island appear to the observer some- 


Lake Superior Abandoned 

times very near, and other times farther 

But the promised voyage of discovery to 
the mysterious copper mines of Isle Boyale 
could not be made. An event was happen- 
ing, at about the time this Relation was be- 
ing written, that meant the death-blow to 
Jesuit missionary efforts on Lake Superior, 
from La Pointe to the Sault. Father Da- 
blon, then superior of the Ottawa missions, 
thus describes the catastrophe in the Rela- 
tion for 1670-71 : 

" These regions of the North have their 
Iroquois, as do those of the South. They 
are a certain people called the Nadouessi 
[Sioux], who, as they are naturally warlike, 
have made themselves feared by all their 
neighbors ; and, although they use only bows 
and arrows, they yet handle them with such 
skill and readiness as to fill the air with 
shafts in an instant — especially when, like 
the Parthians, they face about in their flight; 
for then they discharge their arrows so rap- 
idly as to render themselves not less formi- 
dable when fleeing than when attacking. 

'^ They live near and on the banks of that 

Father Marquette 

great river called Missisipi, of which farther 
mention will be made. They comprise no 
fewer than fifteen Villages of considerable 
size, and yet know not what it is to till the 
soil for the purpose of sowing seed They 
are content with a kind of nwrsh rye which 
we call wild oats, which the prairies furnish 
them naturally— they dividing the latter 
among themselves, and each gathering his 
own harvest separately, without encroaching 
on the others. 

<<They are sixty leagues from the head 
of Lake superior in a Westerly direction, 
and well-nigh in the center of the Nations 
of the West— with all of whom they are at 
war, in consequence of a general League 
formed against themselves as against a com- 
mon foe. 

"They speak a Language peculiar to 
themselves, and entirely distinct from that of 
llie Algonquins and Hurons, whom they far 
exceed in magnanimity — ^being often content 
with the glory of winning a victory and send- 
ing back free and uninjured the prisoners 
taken by them in battle. 

"Our Outaouacs and Hurons of point 

Lake Superior Abandoned 

saint Esprit had thus far maintained a sort 
of peace with them; bnt as their relations 
became embroiled during the past winter, 
some murders even being committed on each 
side^ our Savages had reason to fear the 
storm might burst over them, and deemed it 
safer to leave their location." 

Marquette^ not knowing the Sioux lan- 
guage, had sent religious pictures to these 
fierce but magnanimous warriors of the 
West. B^ this means he sought, says the 
Relation, ''to convey to them some idea of 
our Religion and teach them through their 
eyes." Upon the breaking out of the quar- 
rel, the Sioux, with that formal dignity in 
which Indians delight, returned to the mis- 
sionary the pictures which he had given 
them, and then declared a general war 
against the people of La Pointe. 

The long peace had encouraged the sev- 
eral tribes represented in the numerous vil- 
lages of the La Pointe neighborhood to culti- 
vate extensive fields. Before the coming of 
white men, most of the tribes east of the Mis- 
sissippi River— unlike the Sioux, concerning 
whom Dablon writes — had large planting 


Father Marquette 

grounds, their principal crops being maize 
(Indian com) and pumpkins ; to which they 
were enabled, according to locality, to add 
wild berries, nuts, wild rice (or oats), and 
roots; while occasional hunting and fishing 
trips, often occupying much of their time, 
varied the monotony of village life, and pro- 
duced additional food and raiment for their 

But the fur-trader changed all this. The 
Indian, who was fond of barter, was now en- 
couraged to kill animals for their furs alone. 
This brought welcome excitement; and the 
skins he could exchange for weapons, uten- 
sils, clothing, and ornaments, all of which he 
had before that laboriously made for him- 
self. Unfortunately, the trader also sold to 
them intoxicating liquors, and thus a new 
vice, the cause of many of their future trou- 
bles, was introduced among a simple and im- 
pressionable people. This feature of the 
fur trade was sharply attacked by the Jes- 
uits; but the traders were so strong that 
they were able to overcome the opposition 
of the church, and to fight back so effectively 
that at times the missionaries found them- 


Lake Superior Abandoned 

selves in much trouble with the officials of 
New France, nearly all of whom were in 
some way concerned in commerce with the 
Indians. The result of the fur trade was 
soon to convert the Indian from a village 
agriculturist into a wandering hunter, to 
cause him to forget how to make his own 
materials, and for these to rely almost wholly 
upon the white man. Formerly independent, 
he now became a dependent — the first step 
in his downfall. The Indians of La Pointe 
lived so far away from the track of the trad- 
ers that they seldom saw them; hence they 
were still attached to their villages and fields 
and their old ways of life. 

It was thought impossible, in this fateful 
spring of 1671, for the La Pointe savages, 
who had again been the aggressors, to over- 
come the threatened onslaught of the indig- 
nant Sioux. A retreat was decided upon, 
and we may well be sure that at first there 
was much anxiety as to where the new haven 
or refuge should be. 

To go farther westward would be fleeing 
into the lair of the lion; eastward were the 
Iroquois, who but a few years before had 


Father Marquette 

ravaged with firebrand and tomahawk the 
country from central New York to the mouth 
of Green Bay^ and through Illinois as far 
as the Mississippi. But of late the fangs 
of the Iroquois had been somewhat dulled by 
the French; a peace had been signed with 
them, and for the time being they were no 
longer formidable. 

Forty miles or so southward was the 
rocky rim of the Lake Superior basin; be- 
yond it vast areas of tamarack swamps, the 
headwaters of rivers which, flowing over 
swift rapids and through long reaches under 
dark, overhanging pines, finally emptied 
their floods into the great Mississippi — a 
region abounding in bad spirits, fierce human 
enemies, and beasts of prey. To the Missis- 
sippi Marquette himself would have been 
glad to go ; but the trails thither were guard- 
ed by hostile Sioux, and there was naught 
now to be gained by placing his head in the 
lion's mouth. 

The Ottawas determined to return to 
their old planting-grounds on Manitoulin 
Island, in tiie northern waters of Lake Hu- 
ron. But the Hurons, now the most numer- 


Lake Superior Abandoned 

ous of the La Pointe Indians, tamed their 
thonghts toward an earlier home of theirs, 
where they had stopped for a time in their 
flight from the Iroquois, who had, however, 
followed them thither and driven them 
farther westward. This was the island of 
Michillimackinac, fifty miles to the southwest 
of the Sault, as the crow flies, upon a strait 
where the waters of Lake Michigan, sharply 
turning to the east, run swift to mingle with 
the Lake of the Hurons. The climate was 
mild, fish were plentiful, the sandy soil was 
adapted to growing maize; it was upon the 
path of the Illinois and Wisconsin tribes who 
went by waiter to Montreal and Quebec, and 
was isolated from the Sioux; and should the 
Iroquois ever again take the war-path and 
venture thus far, their canoes might from 
some bold headland be seen for twenty miles 
away over the green waters to the east, and 
time be gained for fight or flight. 

This island to which the Hurons had de- 
cided to fly, and whither Marquette was to 
accompany them, had already been selected 
by the Jesuits as a mission station. Indeed, 
a mission called St. Ignace had been opened 

Father Marquette 

there in the year before Marquette's arrival- 
Father Dablon says in the Relation for the 

*^ MissilimaMnac is an Island of note in 
these regions. It is a league in diameter, 
and has snch high, steep rocks in some places 
that it can be seen at a distance of more than 
twelve leagues. 

*^ It is situated exactly in the strait con- 
necting the Lake of the Hurons and that of 
the Illinois [Michigan], and forms the key 
and the door, so to speak, for all the peoples 
of the South, as does the Sault for those of 
the North; for in these regions there are only 
those two passages by water for very many 
Nations, who must seek one or the other of 
the two if they wish to visit the French set- 

"This circumstance makes it very easy 
bolli to instruct these poor people when they 
pass, and to gain ready access to their coun- 

" This spot is the most noted in all these 

regions for its abundance of fish, since, in 

Savage parlance, this is its native country. 

No other place, however it may abound in 


Lake Superior Abandoned 

fish, is properly its abode, which is only in 
the neighborhood of Missilimakinac. 

"In fact, besides the fish common to all 
the other Nations, as the herring, carp, pike, 
golden fish, whitefish, and sturgeon, there are 
here found three kinds of trout : one, the com- 
mon kind; the second, larger, being three feet 
in length and one in width; and the third, 
monstrous, for no other word expresses it 
— being moreover so fat that the Savages, 
who delight in grease, have difficulty in eat- 
ing it. Now they are so abundant that one 
man will pierce with his javelin as many as 
40 or 50, under the ice, in three hours' time.'' 

Father Dablon then proceeds to state that 
both the island of Michillimackinac and the 
mainland near-by were once largely popu- 
lated by several tribes of Indians who had 
been driven westward by the Iroquois; and 
thither came, in winter, the Indians from the 
Sault to fish in the deeper waters, for in that 
season fishing in St. Marys Biver was im- 
practicable. He says that it is reported to 
him that a good many years ago, before 
white men penetrated to the country, there 
were no less than thirty villages, apparently 


Father Marquette 

on llie mainland to the south, whidi ^' had in- 
trenched themselves in a post a league and 
a half in circumference, when the Iroquois 
• • . came and defeated them." 

"In short," says Father Dablon, "the 
abundance of fish, and the excellence of the 
soil for raising Indian com, have ever 
proved a very powerful attraction for the 
tribes of these regions, the greater number 
of whom live only on fish, and some of them 
on Indian com. Hence it is that many of 
these same tribes, seeing the apparent sta- 
bility of the peace with the Iroquois, are 
turning their eyes toward so advantageous 
a location as this, with the intention of re- 
turning hither, each to its own country, in 
imitation of those who have already made 
such a beginning on the Islands of Lake 
Huron. The lake, by this means, will be peo- 
pled with nations almost from one end to the 
other — ^which would be very desirable for 
facilitating the instruction of these tribes, as 
we would not be obliged, in that case, to go 
in quest of them two and three hundred 
leagues on these great Lakes, with inconceiv- 
able danger and fatigue on our part." 

Lake Superior Abandoned 

To their old homes upon the islands of 
Manitoulin and Michillimackinac, therefore, 
the people of La Pointe determined to go. 
Doubtless the time for deliberation was 
brief. The missionary's presents to the 
Sioux had been returned, and war had been 
declared against his erring but still beloved 
people. Although the enemy magnanimous- 
ly gave them time to depart in peace/ to 
tarry long would be but to invite destruction. 

Runners were sent out through the sev- 
eral villages. Stores of dried food were 
gathered. Hundreds of birch-bark canoes 
were constructed upon the shores of Che- 
quamegon Bay. The conical wigwams, cov- 
ered with great sheets of birch-bark, were no 
doubt allowed to remain, as being too bulky 
for the slender craft; but we may reasonably 
suppose that the skins and rush miats which 
served as walls and partitions for many, 
were carefully bound into bales and placed 
in the canoes, along with food, clothing, and 
the tools and implements of agriculture, the 
chase, and war. 

Throughout this brief and busy season of 
preparation, we may, in imagination^ see the 
8 97 

Father Marquette 

black-robed hero of this life-story, with iron 
will but delicate physique and spiritual f ace, 
passing from village to village, giving good 
counsel of every sort; by brave word and 
sympathetic glance cheering the faint-heart- 
ed, ministering to the sick, baptizing chil- 
dren, giving such practical instruction as he 
might, and so far as possible helping in the 
hurried work. 

When at last the fleet of canoes was packed 
and ready, and the growing crops destroyed 
lest they give sustenance to the enemy, no 
doubt the missionary, surrounded by his 
little band of French and Indian followers, 
held farewell service in the little bark hut 
which had served him for a chapel, fervently 
praying for the day when La Pointe might 
again be the center of christianizing influ- 
ences, even to taming the hearts of the ma- 
rauding Sioux. 

There is no doubt that, as the frail flotilla, 
packed with crouching savages and their 
rude belongings, cautiously crept along the 
base of the brownfitone bluffs of Lake Supe- 
rior upon its long and painful journey of 
five hundred miles, the soldier of the cross, 


Lake Superior Abandoned 

pausing in his paddle-stroke, raised a hand 
in benediction as the mission site, conse- 
crated by the devotion of Allouez and him- 
self, sank from view below the western hori- 
zon. More tearful still would his farewell 
have been could he but have foreseen that 
never again, in the history of New France, 
would a Christian missionary set foot upon 
the forest-mantied shores of Chequamegon 
Bay; for now was liie once hopeful field of 
Lake Superior abandoned for over a hundred 
years to the fur-trader and the savage. 




Point Kbweenaw, whidi projects nearly 
a hundred miles into the waters of Lake Su- 
perior from the southern shore, would have 
greatly increased the distance between La 
Pointe and the Sault had early navigators 
been obliged to paddle around it; but this 
bulky peninsula is almost bisected by a chain 
of lakes and rivers, thus making the crossing 
a light task for canoemen. This short-cut 
route had been followed by Badisson and 
Groseilliers, Menard, and Allouez, and by the 
Western Indians who came to the Sault to 
trade ; and now it was used by the fugitives 
from La Pointe. Past the Pictured Bocks, 
fantastic in form and color, they wended 
their way as wind and weather permitted. 
Each night, or while storms raged upon the 
deep, they camped upon open stony beaches 
or nestled in deep ravines ; occasionally fish- 
ing and hunting, to replenish their slender 

Arrival at Mackinac 

stores. The Indians, after their custom, fre- 
quently offered sacrifice to the storm mani- 
tou by casting clothing or food into the 
waves, amid wild shrieks and the beating of 
rude drums by juggling medicine-men. On 
such occasions Father Marquette, hastily set- 
ting up a rude altar and gathering the faith- 
ful about him, offered prayers to the Chris- 
tian's God— confident, in his simple faith, 
that the fantastic, bigoted medicine-men were 
but sorcerers and the agents of the evil one. 
Following slowly the curving beach of 
Whitefish Bay, they crept cautiously until 
the narrowing shores contracted into St. 
Marys River, down which sweeps the deep, 
dark flood of Superior's overflow, to be 
dashed into foam over the rapids of the 

Here they tarried for a time, for this was 
Marquette's old mission home. Father Ga- 
briel Driiillettes, one of the oldest of the Jes- 
uit missionaries, and Marquette's instructor 
at Three Rivers, was now in charge of the 
work at the Sault. For over twenty years 
had Drflillettes been engaged in ministering 
to savages all the way from the Abenakis in 

Father Marquette 

Maine to the Ottawas and Hnrons on Lake 
Superior. He is a familiar character in 
New England history, because in 1650 he 
went as an agent of the French to visit the 
Puritans of Eastern Massachusetts, and sug- 
gest to them a union between New France 
and New England against the Iroquois. The 
Puritans were kind to him, for he succeeded 
in making an agreeable impression upon 
these stanch haters of Catholics; but the 
proposed union was not effected. 

It strikingly illustrates the daring enter- 
prise of the French, in the exploration of the 
interior of our continent, when we find the 
very Jesuit missionary who had been the 
guest of the Pilgrim Fathers at Plymouth, 
now manfully laboring among strange tribes 
of savages over a thousand miles westward, 
while the English missionaries had not yet 
ventured more than a hundred miles from 
the sea. 

At the Sault, Drtiillettes had been quite 
successful; he was a good physician, and had 
wrought many cures among the Indians, who 
accordingly respected his powers. All save 
the scheming medicine-men, who were ever 

Arrival at Mackinac 

the enemies of the black robes; for if their 
people lost faith in witchcraft, or no longer 
worshiped manitons in the olden way, and 
preferred white men's remedies to the fool- 
eries of magic, then was the trade of the 
medicine-man gone, and his power in the vil- 
lage departed. But the improvement was 
seldom for long. If some one died under the 
missionary's treatment, or some disaster 
swept over the band, the black robe was in 
his turn discredited, and the medicine-man 
again in favor, with his nostrums and his 
noisy incantations to the spirits of earth and 
sky and water. 

Finally leaving the Sault, the La Pointe 
Indians and their teacher with his French 
assistants descended the winding, island- 
studded Biver of St. Marys. At its mouth 
the little fleet divided into two sections, the 
Ottawas proceeding eastward to Manitoulin 
Island, where Father Louis Andr^ was 
awaiting them; the Hurons paddling west- 
ward to their old haunts upon the island of 
Michillimackinac, upon which, as stated in 
the preceding chapter, St. Ignace mission 
had already been established. 

Father Marquette 

It has been held by most historians that 
St Ignace mission was always located upon 
the mainland^ to the north of the island, 
where is now the little city of St. Ignace, 
Mich., which contains a monument erected on 
the supposed site of the old chapel. The 
Jesnit fathers, in writing their letters from 
the heart of the American wilderness, were 
more particular to record conversions and 
other spiritual experiences than to state the 
exact localities of their missions. They did 
not foresee that their often vague geographi- 
cal allusions would cause dispute two centu- 
ries later, when antiquarians came to discuss 
historic sites. 

It is with difficulty that some of the sites 
of the early Jesuit missions in New France 
can now be established even approximately. 
The location of St. Ignace has been among 
these puzzles, although not so difficult as 
some of them. That the mission was first 
upon the island, and probably within the 
present village of Mackinac, a careful read- 
ing of the Relations should convince any one. 
That it was afterward moved to the main- 
land, to the St. Ignace of to-day, there can 

Arrival at Mackinac 

be no reasonable doubt; but when and under 
what circmnstances we do not know. 

It is I'easonable to suppose that this re- 
moval took place in the year after Mar- 
quette's arrival; and there is abundant 
ground for belief that the St. Ignace monu- 
menty which is visited each summer by sev- 
eral thousands of tourists, represents the 
place where stood his little mainland chapel. 
Quite likely the island, at first resorted to be- 
cause of its safety from attack by foes, was 
found too small for the villages and fields of 
the Indians who now centered here in large 
numbers; and moreover was found difficult 
of approach in time of summer storm, or 
when the ice was weak in spring and early 
winter. The long continuance of peace with 
the Iroquois removed for the time all danger 
from that quarter, and events proved that 
they had made their last attack upon the 
tribesmen of these far western waters. 

It was probably midsummer when Marr 
quette and his Hurons, after slowly thread- 
ing their way between the forest-clad islets 
which stud the northwest shore of Lake Hu- 
ron, finally arrived at the island of Michilli- 

Father Marquette 

mackmac. The scene which greeted them is 
one of the most interesting in North America. 
The two sharp-pointed peninsulas of 
Michigan approach each other from north 
and south to within somewhat less than four 
miles. Between them lie the straits of 
Mackinac — the waters of Lake Michigan 
rushing through this narrow, island-deft 
passage to join Lake Huron, being increased 
about forty miles to the eastward by the out- 
flow from Lake Superior. In the center of 
the strait, toward its eastern end, rises 
Michillimackinac — a word in our day short- 
ened to Mackinac — in shape much like a 
high-backed turtle, in allusion to which some 
scholars suppose that the Indians named the 
island. Its southern shore is fringed by 
grassy bluffs enclosing a mile or more of peb- 
bly beach, backed by a level, fertile strand 
upon which Indians had camped and planted 
from very early times, and upon which to- 
day rests the tourist-resort village of Macki- 
nac. From the bluffs above is obtainable a 
commanding view of land and water. It is 
a strategic point of much importance, at the 
junction of three great lakes — for the pos- 

Arrival at Mackinac 

session of which, in the olden days of the 
fur trade which centered here lit Mackinac, 
England and America came more than once 
to blows. Northward the bluffs gradually 
descend in graceful undulations and with 
curious rock protuberances to the water's 
edge — the rocky beach now known as " Brit- 
ish Landing.'' 

Across the intervening four miles of 
water the cape of St. Ignace rises, a wide 
beach of sand hemmed in by dreary bluffs, 
which sometimes are pointed by jagged pil- 
lars of stone; while southward across the 
strait may be seen the sandy stretch where 
is now the village of Mackinaw City, in 
whose neighborhood the English buUt their 
first fort of logs, a hundred years after Mar- 
quette's arrival. 

Mackinac Island is a beauty-spot to-day, 
even when its bluffs are crowned by ram- 
bling hotels and the multifarious summer 
homes of wealthy citizens of Chicago, St. 
Louis, and Detroit; when the island is trav- 
ersed by dusty macadamized drives ; when, 
in summer, the wha.rves are lined with noisy, 
bulky steam-craft from ports all the way 

Father Marquette 

from Buffalo to Dnluth; when, in winter, ioe- 
cmshing ferry-boats transfer railway trains 
between Si Ignace and Mackinaw City, and 
garish souyenir shops and bawling guides 
and cabmen ply their trade among thou- 
sands of summer tourists who /'do'' the 
island sights while their steamers replenish 

But in the days of good Father Marquette, 
Michillimackinac was indeed an earthly 
paradise. The sky hereabout was unusually 
clear; light breezes, wafting over the wide 
waters, brought relief in the warmest days; 
the air was freighted with the odor of the 
balsam; the island was heavily wooded, 
chiefly with cedars, beeches, oaks, and 
maples, presenting a pleasing variety of 
form and color when seen from the highest 
bluffs, which, rising over three hundred feet 
above the straits^ gave to the missionary a 
far-reaching view of land and water, almost 

Eastward, but over the edge of the hori- 
zon, his Ottawa friends were encamped upon 
Great Manitoulin Island, with Father Andr6 
as their priestly counselor. Northeastward, 

Arrival at Mackinac 

a long and tortuous journey by canoe, but 
only fifty miles away in a bee-line over the 
tops of the trees, he could from his van- 
tage-point almost see the Sault, where he had 
lately left Father DrfLillettes at his hopeless 
but beloved task. But to the west no doubt 
his eyes most often wandered. Over the 
waters of Lake Michigan he saw in fancy 
rise the land of the Winnebagoes, the Potta- 
wattomies, and the Mascoutins; the land 
where Father Allouez, whom he had suc- 
ceeded at La Pointe, was still laboring for 
the salvation of forest clans ; the land whence 
flowed the Mississippi, upon whose banks he 
hoped to discover new nations to whom might 
be told the fruitful story of the Cross. 




Thb life of a Jesuit missionary was of 
the strenuous sort; there was little time for 
dreaming upon hilltops. Fatiier Marquette's 
work pressed upon him from every side. 
Mackinac Island and the mainland to north 
and south were the center of a considerable 
Indian population, gathered in villages of a 
half-dozen friendly tribes, Hurons and Al- 
gonkins. Among them the black-robed man 
of Laon journeyed by canoe and on foot, 
sometimes making expeditions as far as the 
Sault, where in June (1671) the French 
agent St Lusson had, with mudi ceremony, 
and in the presence of Fathers Dablon, Drftil- 
lettes, Allouez, and Andr^, taken possession 
of the entire western country. 

An Indian village, although no paradise, 
is picturesque. Each tribe has its own pe- 
culiar style of wigwam ; and Mackinac, lying 
on a favorite highway, was much visited by 

A Strenuous Life 

different peoples traveling to and from all 
points of the compass, who brought with 
them their simple houses; the Relation of 
1671-72 refers to the island as "the great 
resort of all Nations going to or coming from 
the North or the South." But the rude, long 
huts of the resident Hurons, sheathed with 
bark of cedar, of course prevailed upon the 
island beach : a hut housing several families, 
each of which huddled around its own fire, 
the smoke from which finally found exit 
through holes in the roof, after first half- 
blinding the savages themselves. A family 
had its own platforms on either side of the 
fire, with rude bunks above, and supplies of 
food and clothing beneath. Partitions there 
were, of bark or of furs ; nevertheless there 
was little privacy. Pestiferous insects of 
many varieties, snarling dogs, crying chil- 
dren, quarreling neighbors, the medicine-men 
as they sought with barbarous din to drive 
bad spirits from the bodies of the sick, and 
the almost intolerable smoke, combined, with 
the prevalent uncleanliness, to render life 
within 4oors a torment. Small wonder is it 
that the missionaries dwelt in their own huts 

Father Marquette 

when possible, although ever liable to intm- 
sion, and suffering keenly from the general 
uproar of the hamlet. 

Baptizing infants, attending the aged and 
the sick, preaching the gospel as occasion de- 
manded, assisting the people at their simple 
tasks, teaching them better methods, being 
ever on the alert lest wily medicine-men up- 
set their best-laid plans, making long and 
dangerous trips to distant villages; and all 
the while winning their own food from the 
water and the forest, mending and often 
making their own clothing, and yet never 
failing to make note of impressions and ex- 
periences for the benefit of their superiors, 
who expected regular reports — all this 
amply filled the life of Marquette and his 
French donnas. 

That he was reasonably successful at 
Mackinac, as the missionaries measured suc- 
cess, is evident from the Relation of 1671- 
72, wherein says Father Dablon, now the 
superior-general at Quebec: ^^This Nation 
having been trained in Christianity years 
ago, before the Hurons' destruction, those 
who have continued in the Faith now display 

A Strenuous Life 

great fervor. They fill the Chapel daily, 
visit it often during the day, and sing God's 
praises there with a devotion that has com- 
municated itself in no small measure to the 
French who have witnessed it. There the 
grown people have been baptized, and the old 
people set the children an example in their 
assiduous attendance at prayers. In a word, 
they observe all the exercises of piety that 
can be expected from a Christian body or- 
ganized more than 20 years ago — although 
it has been, most of that time, without 
Church, without Pastor, and without other 
Teacher than the Holy Ghost." 

But a scholar of Marquette's broad vision 
was not content with simply telling of his 
missionary experiences. He had been 
schooled in such science as was current in 
his day, and for the benefit of his fellows 
at home forwarded accounts of the natural 
phenomena which interested him in this far- 
away outpost of French influence. In the 
Relation of 1670-71, he of course furnishes 
the material from which Dablon writes the 
account of the mission; and very likely even 
the language of the account may be that of 
» 113 

Father Marquette 

Marquette himself , for the Relations were 
largely made up by the superior-general of 
extracts from the letters of the missionaries, 
sometimes with credit, but more often with- 
out. The winds and the tides greatly inter- 
est him, partly because they are an inconve- 
nience to his French assistants, who are not 
such good fishermen as the Indians accus- 
tomed to these waters: "First, the winds. 
This spot is midway between three great 
Lakes which surround it and seem to be in- 
cessantly playing ball with one another — the 
winds from the Lake of the Ilinois no sooner 
subsiding than the Lake of the Hurons sends 
back those which it has received, whereupon 
Lake Superior adds others of its own. Thus 
they continue in endless succession; and, as 
these Lakes are large, it is inevitable that 
the winds arising from them should be vio- 
lent, especially throughout the Autumn." 

The tides of the Great Lakes, or what 
appear to be tides, are particularly notice- 
able here at Mackinac, and the report dis- 
cusses them at some length. The writer of 
the account, whether it be Marquette or Da- 
blon, deems it possible that they may be 

A Strenuous Life 

" caused by the winds, which, blowing from 
one direction or another, drive the water be- 
fore them, and make it run in a sort of flow 
and ebb." This also is the modem view of 
the phenomenon. He thinks it possible that 
Lake Superior has a subterranean outlet 
hereabout, for " we have discovered a great 
discharge of water gushing up from the bot- 
tom of the Lake, and causing constant whirl- 
pools in the strait between the Lake of the 
Hurons and that of the Ilinois." He is the 
more inclined to this theory because of his 
opinion that St. Marys River is too small 
to accommodate the natural overflow from 
Lake Superior. The tides and the gushing 
currents, he says, break the nets of the fish- 
ermen, or drive them upon the jagged rocks 
at the bottom of the lake. 

Li the Relation of 1672-73 there is given 
in full an interesting letter written from 
Mackinac to Father Dablon, by Father Mar- 
quette, evidently being sent to Quebec by a 
party of Indians who were going in their 
canoes to the capital of New France upon a 
trading trip. In this letter, probably writ- 
ten in the autumn of 1672, nothing is said 

Father Marquette 

of any change of location in the mission. 
The name Michillimackinac was given by the 
French to all the neighboring region, island 
or mainland, so that it is impossible to say 
exactly where the missionary was stationed 
when he wrote his letter. But, as has been 
stated in the previous chapter, it is probable 
that by this time he had removed to Point 
St. Ignace, four miles northwest of the is- 
land. There, certainly, the chapel was situ- 
ated five years later, when the bones of our 
hero arrived for burial. 

Marquette begins by saying that the Hu- 
rons, fearing an attack from Iroquois, had 
built a stockade in the summer just past, to 
surround their cabins. This was in the im- 
mediate neighborhood of the mission chapel, 
which was very likely but a bark hut, much 
resembling the long houses of the Hurons — 
the front end fitted up as a church, with a 
rude altar, silver vessels upon it, and pic- 
tures hung about, illustrating the lives of 
Christ and the saints ; while the rear served 
the Frenchmen as a dwelling. Of his dusky 
parishioners the father writes: 

^^They have been more assiduous at 

A Strenuous Life 

prayer, have listened more willingly to The 
instructions that I gave Them, and have ac- 
ceded to my requests for preventing grave 
misconduct and Their abominable Customs. 
One must have patience with savage Minds 
who have no other Knowledge than of the 
Devil, whose slaves they and all Their fore- 
fathers have been; and they frequently re- 
lapse into those sins in Which they have been 
reared. God alone can give firmness to 
Their fickle minds, and place and maintain 
Them in grace, and touch Their Hearts while 
we stammer into Their ears. 

" This year the Tionnontateronnons 
[Hurons] were here to the number of three 
hundred and eighty souls, and they were 
joined by over sixty souls of the Outaoua- 
sinagaux [Ottawas]. Some of the latter 
came from The mission of saint frangois 
Xavier [De Pere], where Reverend Father 
Andr6 spent last winter with them ; and they 
appeared to me to be very different from 
what they were when I saw them at The 
point of saint Esprit. The Zeal and patience 
of that Father have won over to The faith 
hearts which seemed to us to be very averse 

Father Marquette 

to it. They desire to be Christians, they 
bring Their children to the Chapel to be bap- 
tizedy and they are very assiduous in attend- 
ing prayers. 

^^ Last Summer, when I was obliged to go 
to sainte Marie du sault with Reverend 
Father Alloues, The hurons came to The 
Chapel during my absence, as assiduously as 
if I had been there, and The girls Sang the 
hynms that they knew. They counted The 
days that passed after my departure, and 
continually asked when I was to return. I 
was absent only fourteen days; and, on my 
arrival, all proceeded to the Chapel, to which , 
many came expressly from their Fields, al- 
though these were very far away. 

"I cheerfully attended Their feasts of 
Squashes, at which I instructed them and 
called upon Them to thank Gk>d, who gave 
them food in abundance while other tribes, 
who had not yet embraced Christianity, had 
great difficulty in preserving themselves 
from hunger. I cast ridicule on Their 
dreams, and encouraged those who had been 
baptized to acknowledge him whose Adopted 
children they were. Those who gave feasts, 

A Strenuous Life 

although still Idolaters, spoke most honor- 
ably of Christianity, and they were not 
ashamed to make The sign of The Cross be- 
fore every one. Some young men, against 
whom jests had been directed to prevent 
Them from doing So, made It in The largest 
meetings, even when I was not present. 

"Some Christian Hurons who came up 
from Quebecq and Montreal declared, at the 
outset, that they would not attend meetings 
wherein God was offended ; that if they were 
invited to feasts, they would follow The Cus- 
tom of the Christians. They placed them- 
selves on my side when I was able to be 
present, and maintained Their Freedom 
when I was absent." 

He then proceeds to tell of some of his 
apparent conversions. But he fully recog- 
nizes, from sad experience with them, that in 
many cases this supposed change of heart 
is but temporary; for he says : " I trust that 
what they do through respect and through 
Fear will one day be done through love, and 
with the desire of being saved." 

He attends some of their dances, but 
disapproves of most of them as being super- 

Father Marquette 

stitiousy and succeeds for a time in stopping 
them. "I did not fail during The autumn 
to go and visit them in Their Fields, where I 
instructed Them and made Them pray to 
Gody and told Them what they had to do. 
I also made frequent and regular visits to 
them — especially those who, owing to their 
advanced age, could not come to the Chapel 
• • . Since there was as yet no Bell for 
the Chapel, I went to notify Them " of the 
services of the church. During the year he 
baptized two adults and twenty-eight chil- 
dren. His letter thus concludes: 

** God has aided in a special manner The 
Hurons who went to Hunt; for he Led Them 
to places where they killed a great number 
of Bears, Stags, Beavers, and Wildcats. 
Several bands failed not to observe the di- 
rections that I had given Them respecting 
prayers. Dreams, to which they formerly 
had recourse, were looked upon as Illusions ; 
and, if they happened to dream of bears, 
they did not Kill any on account of that ; on 
the contrary, after they had had recourse to 
prayer, God gave them what they desired. 
This, my Reverend Father, is all that I can 

A Strenuous Life 

write to Your Reverence respecting this mis- 
sion, where men's minds are more gentle, 
more tractable, and better disposed to re- 
ceive The instructions that are given them 
than in any other Place. Meanwhile, I am 
preparing to Leave It in The hands of an- 
other missionary, to go by Your Reverence's 
order and Seek toward The south sea new 
nations that are unknown to us, to teach 
Them to know our great God, of whom they 
have hitherto been Ignorant/' 




When Jacques Marquette was an eight- 
year-old lad, a scion of the proudest family 
in Laon, there was bom (1645) in the little 
riverside hamlet at the foot of the rock of 
Quebec a boy whose name will forever be 
mentioned with his own whenever men speak 
of the French discovery of the Mississippi 
Biver. Louis Joliet was the son of a poor 
wagon-maker in the employ of the great fur- 
trading company which then controlled New 
France; he died when Louis was six years 
of age. 

As Louis grew to manhood he developed 
considerable capacity in several directions. 
He appears to have been at first selected for 
the priesthood, and spent several years as a 
student in the Jesuit house in Quebec; he 
even took some of the preliminary vows of 
that order. In 1666 and 1667, just after he 
had reached his majority, we find him men- 

Joliet Arrives at Mackinac 

tioned in the records as ^^ clerk of the 
church *' in the seminary of Quehec. 

Quebec was then but a small village upon 
the outskirts of civilization, and people of 
every sort were thrown together with more 
or less intimacy. The little band of Jesuits, 
both priests and scholars, of course lived be- 
neath the same roof, and, with aims in com- 
mon, formed lifelong attachments. Mar- 
quette had arrived from France in 1666. 
Although he was eight years older than 
Joliet, they were both young and impression- 
able, and appear to have become fast friends. 
But Joliet abandoned his priestly studies at 
about the same time that Marquette left for 
Three Rivers to study under Driiillettes. 
In October, 1667, Joliet went to France, 
spending a happy year in the land of his 

Upon his return to Canada he adopted the 
calling of an explorer, as did many another 
ambitious young man of his time, and en- 
tered upon the training then essential to suc- 
cess in that arduous field. Like the Indian, 
the professional explorer must understand 
the craft of the wilderness. He must know 

Father Marquette 

how properly to interpret the moods of na- 
ture ; to silently wend his way in the darkest 
and thickest forest, and to live alone, far 
from his base of supplies. It was essential 
for him to acquire the art of fashioning 
shelter huts, weapons, utensils, sleds, and 
canoes ; and he must be a good hunter, fisher, 
and cook. He must patiently endure the ex- 
perience of life in the Indian camps; must 
readily acquire Indian dialects ; must not be 
failing in tact; must, in times of danger, be 
alert, resourceful, and brave. Such rearing 
had Jean Nicolet, who in 1634, first of all 
known Frenchmen, journeyed into the region 
of the upper lakes. Nicolas Perrot, Duluth, 
La Salle, Tonty, and the Jesuit missionaries, 
all studied in this rough school, and were 
successful only as they proved good pupils. 
Widely divergent as were now the call- 
ings of the two young students, it is curious 
to see how close from the first lay their paths 
of action. In the year 1669, when Marquette 
was sent to take charge of the mission at 
Chequamegon Bay, Joliet, in the capacity of 
interpreter and Indian expert, accompanied 
a party instructed by the governor of New 

Joliet Arrives at Mackinac 

France to search for copper mines in the 
Lake Superior region. Two years later, 
soon after Marquette arrived at Mackinac 
Island, we find Joliet with the party of St. 
Lusson, the political agent who, as related 
in a preceding chapter, formally took pos- 
session of the Northwest country in the name 
of the great king of France. 

Joliet appears to have spent much of his 
time for several years in the region of the 
upper Great Lakes, hunting for copper mines 
and learning the numerous dialects of the 
Algonkins and their neighbors. In both the 
Jesuit and official reports of the period he 
is always spoken of as a man of discretion, 
bravery, and unusual ability, who might be 
trusted to do difficult work. 

It must not be supposed that Father Mar- 
quette was alone in his yearning to explore 
the great River of the West, and thus to solve 
the geographical problem of the day — ^wheth- 
er it flowed into the Gulf of California or the 
Gulf of Mexico, or southeastward through 
Virginia. Long before Marquette was bora, 
adventurous Frenchmen had been eager to 
find the mysterious river concerning which 

Father Marquette 

savages brought vagne but glowing reports 
to the Jesuit missions of Huronia and to 
the fur markets of Quebec and Tadoussac 
Champlain had dreamed of reaching its 
banks; but the affairs of the colony caused 
him to turn homeward after only reaching 
the shores of Lake Huron— in itself a notable 
achievement. We have seen that those gay 
rovers, Badisson and Groseilliers, who went 
forth " to discover the great lakes that they 
heard the wild men speak of/' may have also 
paddled their canoe upon the Father of 
Waters in the summer of 1655. There are 
those who think that Robert Cavelier, known 
to history as La Salle, prince of Western 
explorers, traded for furs upon the Missis- 
sippi as early as 1670; but no good reason 
for this belief has been advanced. In the 
early summer of that same year Fathers 
Dablon and Allouez were at the Mascouten 
village, not far from the Wisconsin River, 
which three years later Joliet and Marquette 
were to descend to the Mississippi. "It 
was,'* writes Allouez in the Relation for 
1669-70, "a beautiful river running south- 
west without any rapid. It leads to the great 

Joliet Arrives at Mackinac 

river called Messi-sipi, which is only six 
days' sail from here." Dablon, who soon 
after returned to Quebec as the superior- 
general of his order in New France, had, 
throughout his many journeys in Wisconsin 
and along the shores of Lake Superior, per- 
sistently sought information regarding the 
mysterious river. In the Belation of 1670- 
71 he gives a map of Lake Superior and 

^^ It is a Southward course that is taken 
by the great river called by the natives Mis- 
sisipi, which must empty somewhere in the 
region of the Florida sea, more than four 
hundred leagues hence. . . . Some Sav- 
ages have assured us that this is so noble 
a river that, at more than three hundred 
leagues' distance from its mouth, it is larger 
than the one flowing before Quebec; for they 
declare that it is more than a league wide. 
. . . Some warriors of this country, who 
tell us that they have made their way thither, 
declare that they saw there men resembling 
the French, who were splitting trees with 
long knives ; and that some of them had their 
houses on the water — for thus they expressed 

Father Marquette 

themselves in speaking of sawed boards and 
of Ships. They state further that all along 
that great river are various Tribes of differ- 
ent Nations, of dissimilar languages and cus- 
tomSy and all at war with one another." 

Joliet himself, during his years in the 
Lake Superior country, hungrily sought 
every morsel of information concerning the 
south-flowing waterway about which he and 
Marquette must often have speculated when 
they dwelt together in the Jesuit house in 
Quebec. When Joliet was returning with a 
French companion to the lower St. Lawrence, 
in the early autumn of 1669, he accidentally 
met near the head of Lake Ontario a party 
of Frenchmen headed by La Salle, who were 
seeking the Mississippi. The Iroquois of 
New York State had told La Salle of this 
waterway, and, disliking the Jesuits, he had 
associated with him two Sulpitian mission- 
aries from Montreal, DoUier de Casson and 
Ben6 de Galin^, who were desirous of seek- 
ing new tribes of Indians among whom to 

La Salle wished to proceed by way of the 
Ohio Biver, but Joliet, drawing a map of 

Joliet Arrives at Mackinac 

such of the upper country as he knew, sought 
to convince his countrymen that it would be 
best to proceed by way of the Great Lakes, 
the new route which he had followed in his 
journey home.* The missionaries took 
kindly to his suggestions, but La Salle was 
not to be moved. Unwilling to offend his 
Sulpitian friends, he pretended that illness 
would compel him to return to Montreal. 
Parting company, he proceeded with his 
servants to the Ohio, which he explored 
as far down as the falls, where Louisville is 
now situated. The missionaries, eager to 
reach the Pottawattomies of Wisconsin, who, 
Joliet told them, were in sore need of spir- 
itual instruction, pushed on to Lake Erie, 
upon whose stormy shores they passed a 
dreary winter. In the spring they completed 
the tour of Lake Erie, and proceeded in their 
frail birch canoes up tiie length of Lake Hu- 

* It has already been explained <pp. 49, 50) that until 1669 
the French were obliged to follow the Ottawa route exclu- 
MTelj, because the Iroquois shut them out of Lake Erie. 
Thereafteiv until the aloae of the centurj, both routes were 
followed between the St. Lawrence and the upper lakes. 
After the establishment of a fort at Detroit (1701), the lake 
route was sufficiently safe to cause its general adoption. 
10 129 

Father Marquette 

ron, a long and dangerous journey, until on 
the twenty-fifth of May, 1670, they landed 
at Sault de Ste. Marie. 

Here, at the Jesuit mission, enclosed, with 
other rude houses, in a square fort of cedar 
palisades, surrounded by cultivated fields, 
were found Dablon and Marquette; the lat- 
ter was here upon a visit from La Pointe. 
Hospitality was the rule of the wilderness, 
and Galin^, in his journal, gives us an ap- 
preciative account of their reception. But 
the Jesuits were in control of the Ottawa 
missionary field, and the fathers at the Sault 
did not conceal their dislike of rivalry on the 
part of the Sulpitians. After a visit of but 
three days, the Montreal visitors, escorted 
by a French guide, turned southward 
through St. Marys Eiver, entered Georgian 
Bay, and returned home by the now familiar 
route of the Ottawa Eiver. 

The descent of Joliet to Quebec, with his 
maps and his reports of the upper country, 
renewed popular and official interest in the 
discovery of the Mississippi. This interest 
was further strengthened by the return, the 
following year, of Oalin^e and Casson to 

Joliet Arrives at Mackinac 

Montreal. The attempt of the Sulpitians to 
enter npon the mission gronnd of the Jesuits 
no donbt served to quicken the zeal of the 
black robes, who at this time were in high 
favor with the authorities of New France. 

A considerable body of distorted in- 
formation had already been gathered con- 
cerning the river; but no one had thus far 
published any account of it which was the 
result of personal observation — Badisson's 
journal, written in English, was not discov- 
ered until long after, and remained unpub- 
lished until 1886. It must be remembered 
that birch-bark canoes were as yet the only 
means of transportation; that it cost con- 
siderable money to fit out exploring expedi- 
tions; perils from storms, accidents, famine, 
and the hostility of fanatical savages, beset 
the way. The traveler of our generation 
who seeks to penetrate the forbidden lands 
of central Africa is in no greater danger 
than the explorer who, in the seventeenth 
century, ventured far into the interior of 
the then dark continent of North America. 

Jean Talon had for several years served 
at Quebec as the king's intendant, the officer 

Father Marquette 

in charge of the financial, police, and judicial 
affairs of the province— next to the governor 
the most important person in Canada. A 
man of lofty ambitions, Talon had done much 
to develop the commerce and industries of 
New France ; he had sent Father Albanel to 
Hudson Bay to oppose English fur trade 
encroachments there, and St. Lusson to 
Sault de Ste. Marie to extend the king's do- 
main into the Northwest. He now sought 
to hasten the discovery of the Mississippi, 
and to that end brought influence to bear 
upon the home government in France. He 
was successful in obtaining from the king's 
minister a note dated June 4, 1672, giving 
him the necessary authority: "Since for the 
increase of the colony," wrote the Paris of- 
ficial, " there is nothing more important for 
the colony than the discovery of a passage 
to the south sea, his majesty wishes you to 
give it your attention." 

Armed with this explicit direction. Talon 
at once sought the man for tibie expedition. 
His choice naturally fell upon Joliet. Ta- 
lon's health failing him, he returned to 
France that autumn, but recommended Joliet 

Joliet Arrives at Mackinac 

to CouBt Frontenacy the newly-arrived gov- 
ernor. In November, after Joliet had left 
for the then far west, Frontenac in his turn 
wrote to Colbert, prime minister of France, 
at Paris: ^^I have deemed it expedient for 
the service to send the Sieur Joliet to dis- 
cover the sonth sea by the Maskontens conn- 
try, and the great river Mississippi, which is 
believed to empty into the California sea. 
He is a man of experience in this kind of dis- 
covery, and has already been near the great 
river, of which he promises to see the month." 
In seeking knowledge of the vast interior 
of the American continent, and making trea- 
ties with the Indians, the French were actu- 
ated by several motives. The national thirst 
for territory, that which to-day we call " im- 
perialism," was one ; then there was the hope 
to hem in the English colonists to the Atlan- 
tic slope by arraying against them the west- 
em barrier of French forts and French- 
loving Indians; a desire to extend the fur 
trade and to discover mines of gold, silver, 
copper, and lead, was a prominent factor; 
and not least in their thoughts was a wish to 
thread the Christian religion among heathen 

Father Marquette 

nations. That is why every important ex- 
ploring party must needs be accompanied by 
a priest. 

We have seen that La Salle, who hated 
the Jesuits, took Sulpitians in his party ; but 
the government of New France, being 
friendly to the Jesuits, whose missions were 
scattered all the way from Labrador to Wis- 
consin, naturally turned to Father Dablon, 
as superior-general of the order — ^himself 
one of the best authorities upon the Western 
country — to select one of his missionaries as 
a companion for Joliet. It was well known 
that Marquette had, at La Pointe, studied the 
Illinois dialects, and his letters in the annual 
Relations not only gave information which 
he had gathered regarding the Mississippi, 
but expressed his longings to carry the gos- 
pel to tribes upon the great river of the 
south. He had, indeed, while still at La 
Pointe, been promised the privilege of open- 
ing a mission among the Illinois Indians ; and 
now, at the straits of Mackinac, the gateway 
thither, was but biding his time. The hour 
had at last come. To Jolief s hands were 
entrusted Dablon's instructions to Marquette 

Joliet Arrives at Mackinac 

to accompany the expedition which Count 
Frontenac was despatching to the unknown 
regions of the southwest; and the historian 
of the Catholic Church in America, John Gil- 
mary Shea, believes that Bishop Laval, " to 
accredit Marquette to the Spanish authori- 
ties whom he might encounter, made him 
vicar-general for the lands into which they 
were to penetrate." 

Slowly did the young Sieur Joliet, appar- 
ently alone, ascend in his birch canoe the 
turbulent Ottawa and its tributary, the Hat- 
tawan; with weary limbs follow the well- 
trodden portage-path to Lake Nipissing; 
and, finally emerging from its tangle of for- 
ested islands, now gay with autumnal foliage, 
rapidly descend French River into the broad, 
isle-strewn expanse of Georgian Bay of Lake 
Huron. Weeks must have elapsed before at 
last, in his tiny craft, he could thread the 
length of that gloomy archipelago. Genial 
autumn was succeeded by the chilling air of 
November, for winter early seeks the region 
of the upper lakes; the burning glow of 
maples and sumac was followed by the 
shriveled brown of frost-nipped oak leaves; 

Father Marquette 

each morning the ttaveler, in awakening 
beneath his shelter of boughs npon island 
or mainland beaeh, fonnd the damp mosses 
crisp nnder foot, and the neighboring rivnlet 
skimmed with ice; fitful winds, laden with 
snow-flakes^ scurried the leaves into ever- 
shifting windrows and whistled mournfully 
in the tree-tops. 

Travelers by canoe must needs be pa- 
tient when upon great waters. But it was 
important that Joliet should reach Mackinac 
before ice blocked his passage thither, so that 
the expedition might start for the West as 
soon as the straits were open in the coming 
spring, and thus have a full season for its 
voyage. To secure this result he must fre- 
quently have taken risks in his journey. As it 
was, he came dangerously near not reaching 
his goal before winter barred him out; for 
it was the eighth of December, when no doubt 
ice-floes were forming in the straits, before the 
intrepid explorer beached his craft upon the 
strand of Point St. Ignace, and, embracing 
his priestly friend, placed within his eager 
hands the fateful message which was to link 
their names upon a page of history. 



Fatheb Marquette tells us, in the jour- 
nal of his first voyage, that, during the en- 
tire period of his mission in the ^'country 
of the Ontaonacs/' he always invoked the 
Blessed Virgin ^^to obtain from God the 
grace of being able to visit the Nations who 
dwell along the Missisipi Eiver/' Curiously 
enough, the feast of the immaculate concep- 
tion of the Virgin "was precisely the Day 
[December 8] on which Monsieur JoUyet ar- 
rived with orders from Monsieur the Count 
de frontenac, Our Governor, and Monsieur 
Talon, Our Intendant, to accomplish This 
discovery with me. I was all the more de- 
lighted at This good news, since I saw that 
my plans were about to be accomplished; and 
since I found myself in the blessed necessity 
of exposing my life for the salvation of all 
these peoples, and especially of the Ilinois, 
who had very urgently entreated me, when I 

Father Marquette 

was at the point of st. Esprit [La Pointe], 
to carry the word of God to Their country." 
The hardships and insults which were 
the daily lot of a Jesuit missionary to the 
Indians would certainly have repelled any 
man not an optimist or a zealot. Marquette 
was of a gentle, joyous disposition, ever look- 
ing upon the bright side of life, and burned 
with that zeal which has through all time 
inspired the martyrs of religious faith; to 
him no experiences could be distasteful that 
were endured for the glory of the church. 
Joliet appears likewise to have been imbued 
with youthful enthusiasm, and was strongly 
in sympathy with the aspirations of his mis- 
sionary comrade ; but, as a man of the world, 
he carefully calculated the means employed, 
and whereas Marquette sought merely to 
widen the realms of Christianity, he in his 
turn was mindful of fame and of official pre- 
ferment in case the exploration were success- 
ful. Together they completely represented 
the buoyant, vigorous spirit of their time — 
Marquette, the idealist, but thirty-six years 
of age ; and Joliet, the man of affairs, aged 


The Expedition Starts 

As has been pointed out in the previoas 
chapter, possibly other Frenchmen had al- 
ready found the Mississippi — ^Badisson and 
Groseilliers, or La Salle; and of course we 
should not forget the discovery of the lower 
reaches of the river over a century previous 
(April, 1541) by the Spaniard De Soto. But 
no more came from De Soto's visit than had 
ensued as the result of Leif Erikson's early 
voyage from Iceland to the coast of North 
America — neither made any impression on 
the world at the time, both were barren of 
result. Columbus, knowing little if anything 
of the Icelander's visit nearly five centuries 
before his own, deliberately, with nice cal- 
culation, led the way afresh to the new 
world; and, through the door which he op- 
ened, civilization entered. In like manner, 
Joliet and Marquette, regardless of De Soto 
or of any other possible predecessor, sought 
the Mississippi in the true spirit of scientific 
exploration; they were about to open the 
door to the greatest of the continental water- 
ways, a door which was never again to be 
closed. To them, therefore, as to Columbus, 
we accord the chief honor of a well-planned 

Father Marquette 

discovery, which was of world-wide signifi- 

The long northern winter was spent by 
the two friends in most careful preparation. 
Making notes of all that they had themselves 
learned concerning the Mississippi, and 
drafting maps of the region — an art in which 
both were experts — ^they searched far and 
wide for further information. French or 
half-breed fur-traders who had wandered 
into the western country, other Jesuits who 
had gathered scraps of fact or fancy con- 
cerning it, and Indians of many tribes who 
tarried at St Ignace while on the hunting- 
path, all were drawn upon to contribute their 
mite to the general stock of knowledge. The 
rude mission-house on the north shore of the 
straits was for several months the center of 
a wide-spread popular interest, for news of 
the proposed journey had penetrated to the 
winter camps of wandering savages and fur- 
traders far northward on the shores of Lake 
Superior, westward to the Jesuit mission on 
Fox River, and eastward to the pine-clothed 
shores of the Manitoulins. 

Marquette, upon whose journal we must 

The Expedition Starts 

hereafter largely draw for our kaowledge of 
the man as well as of the voyage, freely tells 
us of these careful preparations: ^^ Because 
We were going to seek Unknown countries. 
We took every precaution in our power, so 
that, if our Undertaking were hazardous, it 
should not be foolhardy. To that end, we 
obtained all the Information that we could 
from the savages who had frequented these 
regions; and we even traced out from their 
reports a Map of the whole of that New coun- 
try; on it we indicated the rivers which we 
were to navigate, the names of the peoples and 
of the places through which we were to pass, 
the Course of the great Biver, and the direc- 
tion we were to follow when we reached it.'* 
Ice in the straits begins to move about 
the first of May. Not until the waters are 
cleared is Mackinac, after a prolonged sleep, 
again in communication with the world. 
With the earliest canoes from the lower coun- 
try came Father Philippe Pierson, a Vigor- 
ous young Jesuit thirty years old. He had 
been appointed to succeed Marquette at St 
Ignace, a post which he occupied throughout 
the succeeding ten years. 

Father Marquette 

Pierson having been properly instructed 
in the duties of the mission, active prepara- 
tions for the voyage now conunenced. Men 
trained to simplicity, as were our two explor- 
ers, required but a modest outfit ^'We 
were,'* writes Marquette, " not long in pre- 
paring all our Equipment, although we were 
about to Begin a voyage the duration of 
which we could not foresee. Indian Com, 
with some smoked meat, constituted all our 
provisions; with these we Embarked — Mon- 
sieur Jollyet and myself, with 5 men — ^in 2 
Bark Canoes, fully resolved to do and suffer 
everything for so glorious an Undertaking/* 

The seventeenth of May, 1673, is a date 
worthy of remembrance in American history. 
That day Joliet and Marquette, with their 
five French voyageurs (oarsmen), set forth 
from Point St. Ignace upon the epoch-mak- 
ing expedition which was to extend far the 
bounds of New France and their own fame. 

Indians were not fond of exploration for 
its own sake, although both war and the hunt- 
ing-path ofttimes led them far afield. To 
their disordered imaginations, far-distant 
waterways were the homes of strange mon- 

The Expedition Starts 

sters who lay in wait to destroy luckless trav- 
elers; the forest abounded in fierce animals 
who closely guarded the shores; evil spirits 
of air and water plotted disaster in many 
forms to those who invaded their domain; 
and, most certain of all, hostile tribesmen 
were to be encountered at every turn. 

It was theref ore, in great wonderment at 
the hardihood of this handful of Frenchmen, 
that Hurons and Ottawas and visiting mem- 
bers of other tribes — clad in skins and gay 
with feathers and beads and dyed porcupine- 
quills — crowded upon the beach, that fateful 
May morning, to see our heroes depart In 
the little bark chapel had been repeated the 
service of the church, seeking the blessing 
of the Virgin upon the voyage of discovery 
undertaken in her name. The moccasined 
voyageurs, with their gray homespun coats, 
leggings, and pudding-bag caps, brightened 
by sashes of lively colors, had said their last 
farewells to the donnas and the serving-men 
left behind. Marquette, beaming with joy- 
ful anticipation, had embraced his brother 
black robe, and blessed all his people, red 
and white. And the Sieur Joliet, in blanket- 

Father Marquette 

coat and jaunty cap of beaver, had, as be- 
came a man of quality, shaken hands with 
everybody and received their Qod-speeds for 
the venturesome expedition. 

Stepping at last into their canoes, each 
of the leaders probably serving as master 
of a craft, they bent to the paddles, voyageur 
and master alike, only pausing, as they 
rounded the western shoulder of the point, 
to wave a last salute to the shouting throng 
of savages and Europeans upon the white 
beach of St. Ignace. 


W = 



« I 























•— • 


s « 




OuB young explorers set forth upon their 
arduous quest with hearts as light as if upon 
a holiday excursion. Writes Marquette : 
" The Joy that we felt at heing selected for 
This Expedition animated our Courage, and 
rendered the lahor of paddling from morn- 
ing to night agreeable to us." 

Soon rounding Point la Barbe, with its 
frowning minarets of stone, they breasted 
the pent-up current which rushes through 
the narrowest portion of the straits; and 
then, losing sight of the graceful curves of 
Mackinac Island, bore off northwestward, 
along the indented coast of Lake Michigan. 

The savages of the north shore of this 
inland sea were few in number and compara- 
tively mild of disposition ; so that the camps 
of the adventurers, upon the edges of the 
deep forest, were unvisited. Finally, after 
several days, the two canoes swept around 
11 146 

Father Marquette 

far-stretching Point Detour and entered 
Oreen Bay— called by the French "Bay of 
the Puants." 

The history of the bestowal of this un- 
savory name is worth relating here, because 
it gave rise to some curious errors. Quite 
early in the career of New France, Algonkin 
Indians from the upper lakes brought to 
Quebec reports that, upon the shores of this 
particular bay, there dwelt a strange tribe 
called by their neighbors "Ouinipegou" 
(pronounced Winnipegoo), a word which the 
French translated into "Puants," or "ill- 
smelling people." As "Ouinipegou" was 
the same term as that given by these sav- 
ages to those who lived by the sea — or " fetid 
water," as it was sometimes called — ^the 
French at first styled the then unknown tribe 
"nation of the sea." This arose from the 
opinion then common among Europeans — ^al- 
ready alluded to in these pages — ^that the 
American continent was narrow^ and that 
the China Sea was not far from the upper 
lakes. It was, therefore, easy to suppose 
that these Puants might readily be Chinese, 
particularly as the Algonkins reported that 

Arrival at Dc Perc 

they spoke a strange language; also wore 
their hair in long locks, and had other curi- 
ous customs. 

It will be remembered that when Jean 
Nicolet came to Green Bay, three years be- 
fore Marquette was born, he had, misled by 
this inference, expected to meet Chinese 
here. But instead, he found, to his great 
disappointment, that the " nation of the sea " 
were merely an outcast branch of the Sioux. 
After a time, when no longer associating 
them with the sea, the French came only to 
call them Puants; and that name clung to 
this people for nearly a century and a half. 
Several of the Jesuit missionaries called at- 
tention, in their Belations and letters, to this 
wrong translation of " Ouinipegou." Da- 
blon supposed it merely had reference to the 
fact that "the odor of marshes surround- 
ing the Bay somewhat resembles that of the 
sea." Father Beschefer thought that it 
meant "waters smelling of rushes." While 
Marquette himself tells us that it probably 
came from " the quantity of mire and Mud 
which is seen there, whence noisome vapors 
Constantly arise." When the English came 

Father Marquette 

into possession of the country, the French 
name Puants was dropped, and the Indian 
name, Ouinipegou, adopted — ^but with a 
change in the pronunciation, for we now call 
these people Winnebagoes. All of which 
shows how interesting may be the history 
of a mere word. 

The first place where the explorers met 
any of the natives was upon the river after- 
ward called Menomonee, from the tribe of 
AlgonkLns then inhabiting its valley. This 
rugged stream, now one of the boundaries 
between Wisconsin and upper Michigan, is 
the principal northern affluent of Green Bay. 
The French name for this tribe was " FoUes 
Avoines" (wild oats, or wild rice); "Me- 
nomonee" itself is but their own word for 
the same thing. Marquette thus interest- 
ingly describes this visit : 

" The first Nation that we came to was 
That of the foUe avoine. I entered Their 
river, to go and visit these peoples to whom 
we have preached The Gospel for several 
years — ^in consequence of which, there are 
several good christians among Them. 

" The wild oat, whose name they bear be- 

Arrival at Dc Pcrc 

cause it is found in their country, is a sort 
of grass, which grows naturally in the small 
Rivers with muddy bottoms, and in Swampy 
Places. It greatly resembles the wild oats 
that Grow amid our wheat. The ears grow 
upon hollow stems, jointed at Intervals; 
they emerge from the Water about the month 
of June, and continue growing until they rise 
About two feet above it. The grain is not 
larger that That of our oats, but it is twice 
as long, and The meal therefrom is much 
more abundant. The Savages Gather and 
prepare it for food as Follows. In The 
month of September, which is the suitable 
time for The harvest, they go in Canoes 
through These fields of wild oats ; they shake 
its Ears into the Canoe, on both sides, as 
they pass through. The grain falls out eas- 
ily, if it be ripe, and they obtain their sup- 
ply In a short time. But, in order to clean 
it from the straw, and to remove it from a 
husk in which it is Enclosed, they dry it in 
smoke, upon a wooden grating, under which 
they maintain a slow fire for some Days. 
When The oats are thoroughly dry, they put 
them in a Skin made into a bag, thrust It 

Father Marquette 

into a hole dug in the ground for This pur- 
pose, and tread it with their feet — so long 
and so vigorously that The grain separates 
from the straw, and is very easily winnowed. 
After this, they pound it to reduce it to flour 
— or even, without pounding it, they Boil it 
in water, and season it with fat. Cooked in 
This fashion, The wild oats have almost as 
delicate a taste as rice has when no better 
seasoning is added. 

" I told these people of the f oUe avoine 
of My design to go and discover Those Re- 
mote nations, in order to Teach them the 
Mysteries of Our Holy Religion. They were 
Greatly surprised to hear it, and did their 
best to dissuade me. They represented to 
me that I would meet Nations who never 
show mercy to Strangers, but Break Their 
heads without any cause; and that war was 
kindled Between Various peoples who dwelt 
upon our Route, which Exposed us to the 
further manifest danger of being killed by 
the bands of Warriors who are ever in the 
Field. They also said that the great River 
was very dangerous, when one does not know 
the difScult Places ; that it was full of horri- 

Arrival at De Pcrc 

ble monsters^ which devoured men and Ca- 
noes Together ; that there was even a demon, 
who was heard from a great distance, who 
barred the way, and swallowed np all who 
ventured to approach him; Finally that the 
Heat was so excessive In those countries 
that it would Inevitably Cause Our death. 

'' I thanked them for the good advice that 
they gave me, but told them that I could 
not follow it, because the salvation of souls 
was at stake, for which I would be delighted 
to give my life ; that I scoffed at the alleged 
demons; that we would easily defend our- 
selves against those marine monsters; and, 
moreover, that We would be on our guard 
to avoid the other dangers with which they 
threatened us. After making them pray to 
God, and giving them some Instruction, I 
separated from them.'* 

Green Bay is shaped like a monster letter 
V. It opens to the northeast, and the Fox 
Biver enters it from the south, at the vertex 
of the angles. The western shores are now, 
as in the days of Joliet and Marquette, ir- 
regular in outline and densely wooded with 
pine and tamarack, presenting a somber and 

Father Marquette 

depressing appearance. The eastern coast 
is generally high, with many bold headlands 
and abrupt slopes, well covered with both 
hard and soft woods. 

Bed Banks, some seven miles below the 
month of the Fox, is so called from the long 
cliff of red clay and sand, which rises steeply 
from the narrow beach to a height of about 
seventy-five feet Up to about a half cen- 
tury ago, the summit of this cliff was dotted 
over with Indian mounds of many curious 
shapes; but the boisterous action of wind 
and waves has seriously eaten into the banks, 
so that to-day the dwellers in the numerous 
summer cottages which now occupy this pic- 
turesque vantage-point find few memorials 
of the mound-building Winnebagoes. These 
Indians have a tradition that the Adam and 
Eve of their tribe lived at Bed Banks ; also 
that here the French first visited them. 

The bay is a wild and stormy estuary, 
much troubled by cross-winds and cross- 
tides, and a cUmgerous passage for small 
craft. The French, from many a sad expe- 
rience, early called its entrance "Death's 
Door," a name which still clings to it upon 

Arrival at Dc Perc 

the maps of Wisconsin. No doubt onr ex- 
plorers were obliged to seize the opportunity 
of favorable weather^ and cautiously crept 
along the western shore. Marquette made 
careful study of the Bay of the Puants^ con- 
cerning which he had frequently read in the 
Jesuit Belations, and probably had heard it 
described by his friend AUouez, one of whose 
missions he was now closely approaching. 
He says of it in his journal : " The Bay is 
about thirty leagues in depth and eight in 
width at its Mouth ; it narrows gradually to 
the bottom, where it is easy to observe a 
tide which has its regular ebb and flow, al- 
most Like That of the Sea. This is not the 
place to inquire whether these are real tides ; 
whether they are Due to the wind, or to some 
other cause; whether there are winds, The 
precursors of the Moon and attached to her 
suite, which consequently agitate the lake 
and give it an apparent ebb and flow when- 
ever the Moon ascends above the horizon. 
What I can Positively state is, that, when 
the water is very Calm, it is easy to observe 
it rising and falling according to the Course 
of the moon; although I do not deny that 

Father Marquette 

This movement may be Caused by very Re- 
mote Winds, which, pressing on the middle 
of the lake, cause the edges to Rise and fall 
in the manner which is visible to our eyes." 

In due course the adventurers, paddling 
lustily in the quiet waters along the shore, 
came within sight of the enormous marshes 
of wild rice which choke the mouth of Fox 
River — vivid in their mass of changing 
greenery, when swayed by the breeze and 
glistening in the sun. ^' It is very beautiful 
at its Mouth," writes our appreciative diar- 
ist, " and flows gently; it is full Of bustards 
[geese]. Ducks, Teal, and other birds, at- 
tracted thither by the wild oats, of which 
they are very fond." 

Pushing on through this mass of waving 
grain, and noisily welcomed by circling 
clouds of aquatic fowl, the canoeists soon 
found the channel broaden to about three 
hundred yards, as solid banks were reached. 
Before them was still an exhilarating pull 
of about six miles up-stream — on the right 
the wooded lowlands, long afterward the seat 
of military power in the trans-Michigan 
country, for French, English, and Americans 

Arrival at De Pere 

in turn; on the left the rolling site of the 
modem city of Green Bay, then an untr9d- 
den forest of intermingled oaks and pines. 

Above this placid stretch, Fox River was 
a toilsome waterway for frail craft of bark 
—"very difficult of passage," writes Mar- 
quette, " on account of both the Currents and 
the sharp Bocks, which Cut the Canoes and 
the feet of Those who are obliged to drag 
them, especially when the Waters are low." 
The first of these rapids were those at De 
Pere. At this gateway to the Mississippi 
our travelers found friends, and doubtless 
tarried by the way. 




It has already been stated that when 
Marqnette went to La Pointe, in the autumn 
of 1669, it was as the successor to Father 
Jean Claude Allouez. The latter, then fifty- 
six years of age, and holding the title of 
grand vicar for "all the countries situated 
toward the North and West," had been 
ordered by his superior, Dablon, to a new 
field of work— to preach the faith to the Pot- 
tawattomies, Menomonees, Winnebagoes, 
and other tribes west of Lake Michigan. He 
had passed the summer at Sault de Ste. 
Marie, the headquarters of the Ottawa mis- 
sion, where many of the tribesmen of the 
region assembled annually for the fisheries 
and the fur trade. During the first week of 
November, he and two of the donn^ left the 
Sault, in company with two canoe-loads of 
Pottawatfomies, for the shores of Green 
Bay. These Indians, he writes, "wished to 

The Mission of St. Francois Xavier 

conduct me to their Country; not that they 
wished to receive instruction there, having 
no disposition for the Faith, but that I might 
curb some young Frenchmen, who, being 
among them for the purpose of trading, were 
threatening and maltreating them.'' 

As previously stated, it is sometimes quite 
difficult, from a reading of the old Jesuit 
journals, to establish locations, for the wri- 
ters were not always particular in giving 
geographical details. The western wilder- 
ness was so far away from the Quebec or 
Paris of that time, that the missionaries evi- 
dently thought such minutiaB would be lost 
upon those who read the accounts — ^just as 
we should fail to appreciate elaborate de- 
scriptions of camping-grounds in a book or 
magazine article upon some traveler's expe- 
riences in Central Africa or in the Austra- 
lian desert. We prefer, in such matters, to 
have him generalize; and this is what the 
fathers often did in their Relations. 

Accordingly, we are unable to state with 
authority just where AUouez spent the 
winter among the Pottawattomies, and es- 
tablished the second Jesuit mission within the 

Father Marquette 

present State of Wisconsin. But by piec- 
ing together his several rather vague refer- 
ences to the locality, and estimating dis- 
tances traveled by him to reach other places 
which are recognizable on the maps of to-? 
day, it is fair to assume that his landfall 
was at the mouth of Oconto Biver, which 
empties into Oreen Bay from the west, about 
midway between the Menomonee and the Fox. 
Here, apparently, dwelt the six French fur- 
traders who had ill-treated the Indians, and 
needed the repressing influence of the priest. 
In one of the cabins of this temporary trad- 
ing-post, the missionary and his companions 
made their home throughout the winter of 
1669-70, and from here visited neighboring 
tribes along the shore of the bay.* 

* In January, 1902, two hunters found upon the site of an 
old Indian Tillage on the southeast shore of Green Bay, just 
aboye Point Sable, a combined sun-dial and compass, of 
bronze, and evidently of great age. Rudely engraved upon 
it, are the latitude and longitude of seyeral of the principal 
forte, missions, and settlements of New France, with the 
spellings and other orthographic peculiarities of the seven- 
teenth century. As this village was, from references in Al- 
louez's journal, undoubtedly one which he visited during the 
winter of 166^70 and later, it is possible that the instru- 
ment was once owned either by Allouez or some of his Jesuit 
assistante at the Green Bay mission. 


M a 






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The Mission of St. Francois Xavier 

About the middle of Aprils upon the open- 
ing of navigation, Allouez and his donnas 
proceeded up the bay and entered "the 
River of the Puans, which we have named 
for saint Francis." They, also, were greeted 
by clouds of the wild fowl which then con- 
gregated in great numbers within the rice- 
marshes at the head of the bay, and pulled 
on to the Sac village at the rapids of De 
Pere, where the waters of the Fox, here 
three hundred yards wide, descend eight feet 
over jagged rocks. 

From this place Allouez ascended the 
stream to visit Indian villages on the Wolf 
and upper Fox Rivers, preaching to Foxes, 
Mascoutens, Miamis, and north-wandering 
bands of the Illinois. Returning, he visited 
the Menomonees and Winnebagoes — the lat- 
ter camping on the east shore of Green Bay; 
and in May, when the villages broke up for 
the summer hunting and fishing expeditions, 
retraced his watery path of a hundred 
leagues to the Sault, promising to return in 
the autumn to his scattered flocks in Wis- 

In September, Father Dablon, superior 

Father Marquette 

of the Ottawa mission^ accompanied Allouez 
upon his second canoe-trip to Wisconsin. 
The two missionaries held councils with the 
savages dwelling upon Green Bay and at De 
Pere rapids, where some French fur-traders, 
who had acted badly toward the tribesmen, 
were now being subjected to "unbearable 
insolence and indignity." Making a favor- 
able impression upon these rude but well-dis- 
posed people, they journeyed up Fox River 
to the village of the Mascoutens, whom Nico- 
let had visited in 1634, and whither we shall 
soon accompany Marquette and Joliet. Re- 
turning to Green Bay, the superior pushed 
on to the Sault, while Allouez passed the 
winter with the tribes upon the bay shore. 

Says Dablon, concerning the natives 
among whom his companion's lot was cast: 
" Four different Tribes are situated near the 
head of the bay, where they live partly on 
what they gather from the fields, and partly 
by fishing and hunting. Two others, a little 
farther away, make their usual abode on the 
rivers emptying into this same bay from the 
North; and all acknowledge various sorts of 
divinities, to whom they offer frequent sac- 

The Mission of St. Fran9ois Xavier 

rifices. These People have Gods, as had the 
Pagans of old, — ^having them in the Skies, 
in the air, on the earth, in the woods, in the 
water, and even in hell. . . . [Some of 
them] who are regarded as intelligent among 
their fellows hold the belief that besides the 
Sun and thunder, — ^which they recognize as 
the Gods of the Sky and of the air, — each 
species of animals, fishes, and birds, has a 
special genius who cares for it, watches over 
its safety, and protects it from the harm 
that might befall it/* 

The following February (1671), AUouez, 
hearing that the Fox Indians upon Wolf 
River, southwest of Green Bay — possibly 
near the site of the present city of New Lon- 
don — were quarreling with some young 
French traders who were stationed there, 
"counted himself happy to expose his life 
to evident danger in order to bear the Gos- 
pel to those poor barbarians, as he has done 
to all other peoples of those regions/* Set- 
ting forth overland from the Bay of the 
Puants, he traveled " in six days twenty-four 
leagues over snow and ice, in the severest 
part of the winter," some of his companions 
la 161 

Father Marquette 

being *^ f rost-bitten, and well-nigh perishing 
from cold." Beaching the village, " he went 
from Cabin to Cabin, cheering some with the 
hope of Paradise, and frightening others 
with the fear of HelL" At first offering but 
"jests, repnlses, and mockery," and threats 
of death, in time they all listened to him 
with "attention and affection." After they 
had promised to bnild for him a chapel, to 
be ready upon his retnm, and to be called 
St. Mark, the father withdrew to his rude 
home upon the bay. In the Relation for the 
year, he speaks confidently of his two mis- 
sions — St. PranQois Xavier and St. Mark; but 
the former was still practically homeless, and 
the latter a mere promise of the fickle Foxes. 
The Jesuit missionaries were, however, 
not easily discouraged. After another busy 
summer at the Sault, Father Allouez pro- 
ceeded again to Oreen Bay, this time in com- 
pany with Father Louis Andr^, now forty- 
eight years old, and one of the most interest- 
ing and lovable of the early Jesuit fathers in 
the Northwest. Some time during the win- 
ter of 1671-72, probably in the early months, 
the bark chapel of St. Francois Xavier was 

The Mission of St. Francois Xavier 

erected on the east side of De Pere rapids,* 
in the midst of the Indian village which had 
probahly been long established at this place. 
Here remained Father Andr^, to look after 
the nations gathered aronnd Oreen Bay, 
while Allonez resumed his apostolic wander- 
ings among the savage tribes of the Wiscon- 
sin interior. 

At the risk of digression, it is worth no- 
ting here that Indian villages were generally 
situated at natural vantage-points connected 
with waterways, which were then the only 
highways — at a river mouth, which is con- 
venient for transportation, and often dose 
to considerable fishing-grounds, as those 
which we have already visited in our narra- 
tive, at the mouths of the Menomonee and 
Oconto Rivers ; beside a waterfall or rapids 
(as at the Sault, and at De Pere, and at 
other obstructions which we have as yet to 
visit farther up the Fox River), because here 
fish are plenty, and canoes must be carried 

* Deriyed from the old French name, Bapidea d€$ F^ea 
C' rapids of the fathers"), in aUusion to the mission there. 
A monument, nnyeiled by the Wisconsin Historical Societj in 
1B99, is near the site of Allouez's chapeL 

Father Marquette 

around by land, so that the villagers are 
masters of the highway; upon a portage 
path, because of ease in reaching and con- 
trolling opposite-flowing water systems; 
upon a bluff overlooking a lake, for facility 
of defense and of observing the approach 
of enemies^ as at Mackinac Island and La 
Pointe; or upon a fertile river-bottom, be- 
cause of good planting-ground, as at Prairie 
du Chien. Frequently, several of these ad- 
vantages were combined in one spot. In 
due time, fur-traders came to such a village, 
as they had to the Oconto Biver and to 
Mackinac; then missionaries arrived, either 
before or after the traders ; possibly a crude 
log fort was now erected, to protect the ftir 
trade, as happened at the Sault, at Macki- 
nac, and Oreen Bay, and a score of other 
places in the Northwest. Such was the man- 
ner in which New France grew. In later 
days, American towns followed upon these 
old sites, and many of our most important 
cities can thus be traced back to Indian vil- 
lages established there long before white 
men set foot upon the soil. 

In the Relation for 1671-72, there are 

The Mission of St. Fran9ois Xavier 

gathered from Father Andre's letters, and 
from Dablon's own observations, most inter- 
esting accounts of the new St. Francois 
Xavier mission at De Pere, a part of which 
are worth repeating here, for they give us 
a very definite idea of the place where Mar- 
quette and Joliet paused upon their great 
journey, and of the people who received 
them. Dablon writes: 

"The bay commonly called des Puans 
receives a river, in which wild fowl and fish 
are caught both together. Of this practice 
the Savages are the inventors; for, perceiv- 
ing that Ducks, Teal, and other birds of that 
kind dive into the water in quest of the 
grains of wild rice to be found there toward 
the Autumn season, they stretch nets for 
them with such skill that, without counting 
the fish, they sometimes catch in one night 
as many as a hundred wild fowl. This fish- 
ing is equally pleasant and profitable ; for it 
is a pleasure to see in a net, when it is drawn 
out of the water, a Duck caught side by side 
with a pike, and Carp entangled in the same 
meshes with Teal. The Savages subsist on 
this manna nearly three months [in the year] . 

Father Marquette 

'^Nature and necessity, whidi have 
taught them this mode of fishing, have 
prompted them to invent still another on the 
same river, two leagues from its mouth. 

^^It is a device that is somewhat rude, 
hut excellently adapted to their purpose, and 
it enahles a child to fish with great success. 
They construct it in such a manner as to 
har the entire river from one bank to the 
other, making a sort of palisade of stakes, 
which they plant in the water in a straight 
line, leaving onl^ space enough to allow the 
water to run between certain hurdles, which 
stop the large fish. Along this barrier they 
arrange scaffolds, on which they place them- 
selves in ambush and await their prey with 
impatience. When the fish, following the 
current, reach this barrier, the fisher plunges 
in a pocket-shaped net, into which he easily 
coaxes them.* 

^* These two kinds of fishing draw to this 

* This method was adopted bj Indians at several other 
phuses mentioned in the Relations ; and to this day the French- 
Canadians living at De Pere employ a somewhat similar de- 
vice — at the foot of the present dam are built, at interrals in 
the river, wooden platforms, to which are fastened large nets 
which imprison the fish as they attempt to pass. 

The Mission of St. Francois Xavier 

spot many Savages from all directions. The 
situation of the place contributes not a little 
to this result; for, bordering that river, near 
the spot of which we have just spoken, we 
see a prairie of four or five arpents in width, 
bounded on either side by woods of full- 
grown trees. And besides the grapes, plums, 
apples, and other fruits, which would be 
fairly good if the Savages had patience to 
let them ripen, there also grows on the prai- 
ries a kind of lime resembling that of France, 
but having no bitter taste — not even in its 
rind. The plant bearing it slightly resem- 
bles the fern. 

" The Bear and the Wildcat— the latter 
being as large as a medium-sized dog — 
abound in the country; and as the woods 
are free from underbrush, extensive prairies 
are seen in the forests, and contribute to 
the pleasure of living there. The above- 
named animals, as well as the Stag, are 
easily hunted — ^both in the woods, which are 
not dense, and on the river, into which the 
last-named animal often plunges in its 
course, when it is pursued, and is taken with- 
out difficulty. 


Father Marquette 

>^ To all the advantages of this place may 
be added the fact of its being the great — 
and the only — ^thoroughfare for all the sur- 
rounding Nations, who maintain a constant 
intercourse, either in visiting or trading. 
Hence it was that we turned our eyes thither, 
with a view to placing our Chapel there in 
the midst of more than ten different Nations, 
who can furnish us over fifteen thousand 
souls to be instructed in the truths of Chris- 

In the report of their voyage of discov- 
ery, Marquette makes no mention of stop- 
ping at the mission at De Pere. Possibly 
Father Andr^ was absent upon one of his 
long tours, during which he experienced 
many curious and sometimes thrilling ad- 
ventures; but that the travelers were abun- 
dantly entertained there, at least by the sav- 
ages, many of whom had become much at- 
tached to the missionaries, we can entertain 
no doubt. Both Nicolet and AUouez had had 
occasion to testify to the hospitality which 
prevailed at this village, which sat by the 
gateway to the great river. 

Upon leaving St. Ignace, Marquette had 


(Silver soleil, given by Nicolas Perrot, French commandant of the West, to 
St. Fran9oi8 Xavier mission at De Pere, Wisconsin, in 1686. Now in 
museum of Wisconsin Historical Society, at Madison.) 

The Mission of St. Fran9ois Xavicr 

been transferred to the De Pere mission by 
his superior in order to be convenient to the 
Illinois tribes ; and we shall see that after his 
return from the Mississippi he spent the 
succeeding winter at these first rapids of 
the Fox. 




From the De Pere rapids to Lake Winne- 
bago— a distance as the stream winds of 
some twenty-eight miles — ^Fox Biver is a 
deep, rapid, and picturesque stream. Its 
banks are, for the most part, soft rolling 
terraces, which rise from twenty to fifty feet 
above the flood; being varied, now and then, 
by park-like glades, and bold, rocky bluffs. 
Still retaining much of their original beauty, 
these shores were, in their primitive con- 
dition, densely wooded with oaks, maples, 
pines, and cedars, from whose branches 
hung rich festoons of the wild grape ; clumps 
of wild crab-apples and plums flourished in 
sheltered nooks by the side of the cataracts, 
and ferns and mosses made of each damp 
ravine a veritable paradise. 

The course of the river is obstructed by 
several rapids, most of them so formidable 
as even in the descent to necessitate usually 

At the Mascouten Village 

the rmloading of cargoes, while at a few the 
empty canoes often had to be taken around 
by the portage path. In the order of ascent, 
they were: Bapides des P^re (De Pere), 
Petit Kakalin (now Little Bapids), La 
Croche (at Kimberly), Grand Chnte (now 
Appleton), and Winnebago Rapids (at 
Doty's Island). The entire fall of the river, 
in this distance, is about a hundred and 
sixty-nine feet. 

When Marquette and Joliet, with their 
faithful helpers, toiled up this rocky stair- 
way, the lower valley of the Fox was the 
seat of a considerable Indian population, 
there being clusters of cabins at several of 
the rapids and on Doty's Island, which di- 
vides the outlet of Lake Winnebago. On 
the level lands which, from the tops of the 
sloping banks, stretch away on either side, 
were large fields of Indian com; for these 
people were thrifty, as savages go, placing 
their grain in caches for winter use, and 
trading their surplus to neighboring tribes. 

The father notes in his journal the ex- 
treme difficulties of surmounting the rapids, 
^^on account of both the Currents and the 

Father Marquette 

sharp Bocks, which Cut the Canoes and the 
feet of Those who are obliged to drag them " 
over the shallower places, or to pole them 
amid the projecting boulders. No doubt this 
laborious task, as with Allouez's party be- 
fore them, was performed by the voyageurs, 
while the explorers trudged along the banks 
for several miles, bearing the small packs of 

At last, after making the final portage at 
Doty's Island, they emerged upon the broad 
expanse of Lake Winnebago, one of the most 
charming of our large Western inland wa- 
ters. Allouez, four years before, had named 
it Lake St. Francois, and wrote : ^^ It is about 
twelve leagues long and four wide, extends 
from the North-Northeast to the South- 
Southeast, and aboimds in fish; but is unin- 
habited, on account of the Nadouecis 
[Sioux], who are there held in fear.*' 

Dablon's accoimt, a year later than Al- 
louez's, thus refers to Lake Winnebago and 
the upper Fox which flows into it from the 

"The fairest land possible to behold — 
in every direction, prairies only, as far as 

At the Mascouten Village 

the eye can reach, cut by a river ^vhich gently 
winds through it, and on which it rests the 
traveler to paddle his canoe. The region of 
forests and mountains is passed when one 
arrives here, and nothing but little grove- 
planted hills present themselves at intervals^ 
as if to offer their shade to the traveler, that 
he may there find grateful shelter from the 
Sun's heat. 

^^ Nothing but elms, oaks, and other simi- 
lar trees are seen here — and not those 
which, growing commonly only on poor soil, 
are merely fit to furnish bark for covering 
Cabins or for making Canoes. Hence these 
people know not what it is to travel by wa- 
ter ; and have no other houses, for the most 
part, than such as are made of rushes woven 
together in the form of mats. Vines, plum- 
trees, and apple-trees are readily found on 
the way; and seem by their aspect to invite 
the traveler to land and taste of their fruit, 
which is very sweet and exceedingly abun- 

"The banks of this river, which flows 
gently through the midst of these prairies, 
are covered throughout with a certain plant 

Father Marquette 

bearing what is called here wild oats, of 
which the birds are wonderfully fond. All 
sorts of game, too, are so plenty that with- 
out stopping long one can kill what he 

''All this prairie country, extending to 
our knowledge more than three himdred 
leagues in every direction — to say nothing 
of its farther extent, of which we have no 
knowledge — affords ample sustenance to the 
wild cows [buffaloes], not infrequently en- 
countered in herds of four or five hundred 
each. These, by their abundance, furnish 
adequate provision for whole Villages, which 
therefore are not obliged to scatter by fami- 
lies during their hunting season, as is the 
case with the Savages elsewhere.'' 

Dablon, a true lover of nature as well as 
of man, also writes at length of the buffaloes 
seen upon his journey, of the great white 
pelicans then numerous in these waters, of 
" groves scattered here and there, which na- 
ture seems to furnish solely for the gratifi- 
cation of the eye ; ^ and exclaims at last, with 
the enthusiasm of a bom canoeist: ^^One 
does not tire of paddling over these lakes 

At the Mascouten Village 

and rivers when he meets with such diver- 

Similar, no doxtbt, allowing for the differ- 
ence between September and June, were now 
the experiences of Marquette and Joliet 
Cautiously they wended their way from one 
projecting point to another, along the low- 
lying western shore of Lake Winnebago, 
until at last they found the place whence 
emerge the upper waters of the Fox — a 
broad bay fringed with marshes of wild rice, 
beyond which rose gently swelling prairies, 
backed on the horizon by oak openings. 
Where to-day is the thriving manufacturing 
city of Oshkosh, were then but a half-dozen 
Indian wigwams at the junction of lake and 

As with Nicolet, and AUouez and Dablon, 
our friends were not at present concerned 
with these small wayside bands of Sacs, 
Foxes, Winnebagoes, and Pottawattomies. 
Like their predecessors along this path, they 
were desirous of making their first stopping- 
place the palisaded village of the Mascou- 
tens, or " Fire Nation," which was situated 
upon the banks of the upper Fox. No tribe 

Father Marquette 

of Western Indians excited more interest 
among the French explorers than these same 
Mascontens; historians and ethnologists 
have earnestly discnssed their origin; while 
Wisconsin antiquarians have for many years 
held rival theories as to the location of this 
particular village, so frequently referred to 
in the Jesuit Relations and other French rec- 
ords of the seventeenth century. 

AUoueZy with more detail than was cus- 
tomary with the Jesuits, placed the Mascon- 
tens, in 1670, as but a day's paddling up the 
Fox, from the mouth of the Wolf, and six 
days' journey from the Mississippi; which, 
with due regard to the character of the coun- 
try, would seem to locate them somewhere in 
the neighborhood of either Berlin or Prince- 
ton — a league inland from the river, "in a 
very attractive place, where beautiful Plains 
and Fields meet the eye as far as one can 
see." There are those who, not without 
grounds for argument, would place this vil- 
lage in the neighborhood of the Fox-Wiscon- 
sin portage ; or of the present hamlet of Mar- 
quette, on Lake Puckawa; or even nearer 
Oshkosh than is Berlin. It is a friendly con- 

At the Mascouten Village 

tention, giving flavor to the study of local 
history, but need not on this occasion de- 
tain ns. 

Of more immediate concern to the reader 
of the present narrative is the origin of this 
interesting people, who aroused the curiosity 
of the early French travelers. It is claimed 
by a recent author, who has written at length 
on this subject, that they derived their name, 
** Fire Nation," from the fact that they were, 
in very early times, extensive miners of cop- 
per on the shores of Lake Superior, and used 
fire to so soften the veins of ore that they 
might chip off portions of it with their stone 
hammers; from these making copper tools 
of many shapes, which are now regarded with 
curiosity in historical museums. Very dif- 
ferent, however, was the opinion of Dablon, 
who tells us: "The Fire Nation is errone- 
ously so called, its correct name being 
Maskoutenech, which means ^a treeless 
country/ like that inhabited by these peo- 
ple; but as, by changing a few letters, this 
word is made to signify ^fire,' therefore 
the people have come to be called the * Fire 
Nation.' '' 

18 177 

Father Marquette 

It is believed that some of their bands 
once dwelt as far away as the Virginia moun- 
tains, and were the Bocootawanaukes men- 
tioned in Captain John Smith's history. It 
is thought that they were once strong in the 
Ohio Valley, and built many if not most of 
the strangely shaped moimds which are still 
to be seen there ; that they were at one time 
dwellers in the southern peninsula of Michi- 
gan ; and that the Wisconsin village was but 
an outlying band, who had wandered far 
from their kindred. 

Marquette records that, just previous to 
reaching the town, he " had the Curiosity to 
drink the mineral Waters of the River that 
is not Far from That village. I also took time 
to look for a medicinal plant which a savage, 
who knows its secret, showed to Father Al- 
louez with many Ceremonies. Its root is 
employed to Counteract snake-bite, God hav- 
ing been pleased to give this antidote 
Against a poison which is very common in 
these countries. It is very pungent, and 
tastes like powder when crushed with the 
teeth; it must be masticated and placed upon 
the bite inflicted by the snake." Specimens 

At the Mascouten Village 

of this he placed within his canoe, " in order 
to examine it at leisure," 

It was upon the seventh of June when 
the explorers reached the landing-place, 
where they drew up their canoes, and had a 
brisk walk of some two and a half miles in- 
land. Upon a low eminence, in the midst of 
the prairie, lay the village which by this time 
had won fame as far away as Paris, in the 
published Relations of two years past. It 
was one of the largest Indian towns upon the 
continent, for within the stout palisade there 
were living, in common, bands from three 
tribes, the Mascoutens, Miamis, and Kicka- 
poos. Dablon wrote of them : " They form 
together more than three thousand souls, and 
are able to furnish each four hundred men 
for the common defense against the Iroquois, 
who pursue them even into these remote 

Marquette's own journal is so meager, up 
to the point of reaching the Mascouten vil- 
lage, that, in order to enable our readers to 
see the Fox River country as it appeared to 
him, we have been obliged to borrow freely 
from the accounts of Fathers Dablon and 

Father Marquette 

Allouez. But now that the explorers have 
reached ^^ the limit of the discoverieB which 
the French have made/' the missionary be- 
comes more profuse in his descriptions^ and 
henceforth we shall generally find it sufficient 
to draw upon his narrative. Of the village 
at which they were now quartered, he writes : 
'^ This Village Consists of three Nations 
who have gathered there — Miamis, Maskou- 
tens, and Eikabous. The former are the 
most civil, the most liberal, and the most 
shapely. They wear two long locks over 
their ears, which give them a pleasing ap- 
pearance. They are regarded as warriors, 
and rarely undertake expeditions without be- 
ing successful. They are very docile, and 
listen quietly to What is said to Them; and 
they appeared so eager to Hear Father Al- 
loues when he Instructed them that they gave 
Him but little rest, even during the night. 
The Maskoutens and Eikabous are ruder, 
and seem peasants in Comparison with the 
others. As Bark for making Cabins is scarce 
in this country. They use Bushes ; these serve 
Them for making walls and Boof s, but do 
not afford them much protection against the 

At the Mascouten Village 

winds, and still less against the rains when 
they fall abundantly. The Advantage of 
Cabins of this kind is, that they make pack- 
ages of Them, and easily transport them 
wherever they wish, while they are hunting. 

"When I visited them, I was greatly 
Consoled at seeing a handsome Cross erect- 
ed in the middle of the village, and adorned 
with many white skins, red Belts, and bows 
and arrows, which these good people had 
offered to the great Manitou (This is the 
name which they give to God). They did 
this to thank him for having had pity On 
Them during The winter, by giving Them 
an abundance of game When they Most 
dreaded famine. 

" I took pleasure in observing the situa- 
tion of this village. It is beautiful and very 
pleasing; For, from an Eminence upon 
which it is placed, one beholds on every side 
prairies, extending farther than the eye can 
see, interspersed with groves or with lofty 
trees. The soil is very fertile, and yields 
much indian com. The savages gather 
quantities of plums and grapes, wherewith 
much wine could be made, if desired/' 



Immbdiatblt upon their arrival, our ex- 
plorers assembled the head men of the Mas- 
conten village. Joliet appears to have been 
the spokesman. ^^He told them," writes 
Marquette, ^^that he was sent by Monsieur 
Our Governor to discover New countries, 
while I was sent by Gk>d to illumine them 
with the light of the holy Gospel. He told 
them that, moreover, The sovereign Master 
of our lives wished to be known by all Na- 
tions ; and that in obeying his will I feared 
not the death to which I exposed myself in 
voyages so perilous." 

The American savage is fond of public 
speaking. His eloquence consists largely of 
figures of speech drawn from natural objects 
and conditions. In all important negotia- 
tions between the tribes, or between whites 
and Indians, feasts and oratory, with much 
ceremonial, were quite essential. In such 

Discovery of the Mississippi 

speeches each step of progress was marked 
by a gift from the speaker to the persons 
addressed, a courtesy to be paid in kind 
by the person replying. Theoretically, this 
was for the purpose of assisting those pres- 
ent to remember what was said, whenever 
they looked upon the present. To this curi- 
ous custom, common to all the tribes, Mar- 
quette alludes, in telling us that Joliet in- 
formed his hearers ^Hhat we needed two 
guides to show us the way; and We gave 
them a present, by it asking them to grant 
us the guides. To this they very Civilly con- 
sented; and they also spoke to us by means 
of a present, consisting of a Mat [of woven 
reeds] to serve us as a bed during the whole 
of our voyage." 

Three days were passed with these hos- 
pitable people. Upon the tenth of June, the 
two Miamis who had been selected to serve 
as guides ^^ embarked with us, in the sight 
of a great crowd, who could not sufficiently 
express their astonishment at the sight of 
seven frenchmen, alone and in two canoes, 
daring to undertake so extraordinary and so 
hazardous an Expedition.'' It can well be 

Father Marquette 

imagined that as the little fleet set forth that 
bright June morning, when Nature was in 
her loveliest garb, the hearts of the adven- 
turers swelled with enthusiasm, thinking of 
the strange lands and stranger peoples which 
they were destined soon to behold. 

The Fox River, above this point, is but 
a narrow creek winding in fitful curves 
through widespread swamps of reeds and 
wild rice. The labyrinth was, at that time, 
frequently choked with vegetation, and with- 
out guides the passage would have been well- 
nigh impossible. Writes Marquette: "The 
road is broken by so many swamps and small 
lakes that it is easy to lose one's way, es- 
pecially as the Biver leading thither is so 
full of wild oats that it is difficult to find the 

Here comes the curious contradiction 
which has given rise, as stated in the preced- 
ing chapter, to discordant theories about the 
location of the Mascouten village. For while 
AUouez had very carefully stated that it was 
but a day's journey above the junction of the 
Wolf and the Fox — ^which would place it near 
the present Berlin or Princeton — Marquette 

Discovery of the Mississippi 

tells us that ** at three leagues from Maskou- 
tens was a Biver which discharged into the 
Missisipi." If we are to accept this estimate, 
the Wisconsin was somewhat less than eight 
miles from the Mascoutens ; whereas Prince- 
ton is sixty-five miles down the Pox River 
from Portage, and Berlin twenty miles far- 
ther. Upon this statement, Portage antiqua- 
rians believe that the site was near their city, 
which lies by the side of the swampy, portage 
trail there separating the sluggish and insig- 
nificant Fox from the broad, swift channel of 
the Wisconsin.* It is reasonable, however, 
to suppose that the person who copied Mar- 
quette^s narrative for its first publication — 
the explorer's original manuscript is prob- 
ably not in existence — ^mistook trente (thirty) 
for trois (three), for his handwriting was 
difficult to read. Moreover, the maps made 
by both Marquette and Joliet place the vil- 
lage where AUouez declares that it was. 

The path between the two opposite-flow- 
ing streams — the waters of the Pox empty- 
ing northeastward into the St. Lawrence sys- 

* The explorer La Salle tersely describes this portage as 
** an oak grove and a flooded meadow." 

Father Marquette 

tern, and those of the Wisconsin southwest- 
ward into the Mississippi — is but a mile and 
a half in length; Marquette calls it ''2700 
paces." With high water in the Wisconsin, 
this plain has frequently been flooded, so 
that continuous canoe passage from the 
Great Lakes to the Mississippi has been. pos- 
sible. But such fortune did not await our 
explorers; they were obliged to make the 
portage, in that task being assisted by their 
guides, "after which they returned home, 
leaving us alone in this Unknown country, 
in the hands of Providence. Thus we left 
the Waters flowing to Quebeq, 4 or 500 
leagues from here, to float on Those that 
would thenceforth Take us through strange 
lands. Before embarking thereon, we Be- 
gan all together a new devotion to the 
blessed Virgin Immaculate, which we prac- 
tised daily, addressing to her special prayers 
to place under her protection both our per- 
sons and the success of our voyage; and, 
after mutually encouraging one another, we 
entered our Canoes." 

The Wisconsin River, upon which fhey 
were now embarked, presents a striking con- 

O < 

Oh fl 

H I 

< S 

I ^ 

8 i 

M a, 

S « 





o S 

^ S 

E *" 


Discovery of the Mississippi 

trast to the Pox. Its valley is from three 
to five miles broad, flanked on either side, 
below the portage, by an undulating range 
of imposing bluffs, from a hundred and fifty 
to three hundred and fifty feet in height. 
They are heavily wooded, as a rule, although 
there is now, as then, much variety — pleas- 
ant slopes and sheltered fields, on the sweet 
herbage of which the travelers saw deer and 
bujBfaloes peacefully grazing; naked water- 
washed escarpments, rising sheer above the 
stream; terraced hills, with eroded faces; 
steep uplands, whose forest growths have 
been shattered by tornadoes; and romantic 
ravines, worn deep by spring torrents im- 
patient to reach the river level. 

Between these ranges stretches a wide 
expanse of bottoms, either bog or sand-plain, 
through which the swift current twists and 
bounds, continually cutting out new channels 
and filling old ones with the d^ris. As it 
thus sweeps along, wherever its fancy list- 
eth, here to-day and there to-morrow, it 
forms innumerable islands, which greatly 
add to the picturesqueness of the view. 
These islands are often mere sand-bars, 

Father Marquette 

BometiiDes as barren as Sahara, again thick- 
grown with willows and seedling aspens ; but 
for the most part they are heavily wooded, 
their banks gay with the season's flowers, 
while luxuriant vines droop in graceful fes- 
toons from trees which overhang the flood. 
Marquette's own journal thus tells the 
story of their trip: " The River on which we 
embarked is called the Meskonsing.* It is 
very wide; it has a sandy bottom, which 
forms various shoals that render its naviga- 
tion very difficult. It is full of Islands Cov- 
ered with Vines. On the banks one sees fer- 
tile land, diversified with woods, prairies, 
and Hills. There are oak. Walnut, and 
basswood trees; and another kind, whose 
branches are armed with long thorns. We 
saw there neither feathered game nor fish, 
but many deer, and a large number of cattle. 
Our Route lay to the southwest, and, after 
navigating about 30 leagues, we saw a spot 
presenting all the appearances of an iron 
mine ; and, in fact, one of our party who had 
formerly seen such mines, assures us that 
The One which We found is very good and 

* The earliest French name for the WiBoonsm. 

Discovery of the Mississippi 

very rich. It is Covered with three feet of 
good soil, and is quite near a chain of rocks, 
the base of which is covered by very fine 

Upon the seventeenth of June, after a 
voyage of seven days from the Mascontens, 
the canoeists swiftly glided on the bubbled 
torrent, through the flood-washed delta of the 
Wisconsin, into the broad, sweeping current 
of the Mississippi, at this point nearly a mile 
in width. They gazed with rapture — " a Joy 
that I cannot Express," writes the gentle 
Marquette — ^upon one of the noblest scenes 
in America. They had at last found the 
object of their search, but their arduous 
journey was still far from its end. 




The upper valley of the Mississippi is 
flanked on either side with rounded bluffs, 
often three and four hundred feet in height. 
Within this deep trough, at the Wisconsin's 
mouth some three miles in width, the great 
river winds in long and graceful curves, its 
current divided by flood-washed willow is- 
lands, flanked by shifting sand-bars black 
with tangled roots and trunks of trees, the 
stranded debris of many a springtime 
freshet. Edging the shores are often intri- 
cate bayous, boggy woods, and sandy mead- 
ows, back of which lie fertile bottom-lands, 
as at Prairie du Chien, which nestles under 
protecting hills five miles above the spot 
where our travelers first sighted their quest 
— a quaint little city, the outgrowth of an 
old Indian village and of the French fur 
trade which centered at this meeting of the 
waters. Sometimes the giant stream sweeps 



5 i 


O g 


S 2 

The Limit of the Journey 

by the very feet of the hills, which in such 
cases rise in imposing rock-faced cliffs, 
decked with ferns and nodding columbines. 
Northward and southward are long vistas 
of curving hills and glinting water, shut in 
by the converging ranges. 

All these features were carefully noted 
by the journalist of the voyage — the "high 
Mountains," the "beautiful land," the is- 
lands, the "slow and gentle" current, and 
the depth of water, which they found to be 
about fifty-three feet. He continues: "We 
gently followed its Course, which runs 
toward the south and southeast, as far as 
the 42nd degree of Latitude. Here we 
plainly saw that its aspect was completely 
changed. There are hardly any woods or 
mountains; The Islands are more beautiful, 
and are Covered with finer trees. We saw 
only deer and cattle, bustards, and Swans 
without wings, because they drop Their plu- 
mage in This country." 

The travelers had soon to remember the 

warning given them by the Menomonees, to 

beware of "horrible monsters." The good 

father thus describes those ,which now beset 


Father Marquette 

them: ''From time to time, we came upon 
monstrous fish, one of whidi struck our 
Canoe with such violence that I Thought that 
it was a great tree, about to break the Canoe 
to pieces. On another occasion, we saw on 
The water a monster with the head of a 
tiger, a sharp nose Like That of a wildcat, 
with whiskers and straight. Erect ears ; The 
head was gray and The Neck quite black; 
but We saw no more creatures of this sort. 
When we cast our nets into the water we 
caught Sturgeon, and a very extraordinary 
Kind of fish. It resembles the trout, with 
This difference, that its mouth is larger. 
Near its nose — ^which is smaller, as are also 
the eyes — is a large Bone shaped Like a 
woman's corset-bone, three fingers wide and 
a Cubit Long, at the end of which is a disk 
as Wide As one's hand. This frequently 
causes it to fall backward when it leaps out 
of the water.'' Li these formidable crea- 
tures we are able to recognize the familiar 
catfish of our Western rivers, the American 
tiger-cat, and the paddlefish (or spoonbill). 
The crude instruments which the explor- 
ers used for determining their location were 

The Limit of the Journey 

not accurate, being sometimes half a degree 
out of tke way, so that it is often difficult 
to follow them. It appears, however, to 
have been about the latitude of Bock Island 
that they first found wild turkeys, and ob- 
served that buffaloes were becoming abun- 
dant. The boatmen, who daily sought game 
for the party, killed one of these " wild cat- 
tle,^'^ and Marquette describes the beast in 
great detail — one of the first accounts which 
we have of this useful animal, which once 
was plentiful in most portions of the United 
States. Marquette records that "they are 
scattered about the prairie in herds; I have 
seen one of 400." 

It was necessary that the travelers should 
be cautious, for they had no knowledge of 
the country, and knew not what dangers 
might suddenly beset them upon this mighty 
waterway, whether from savages, from wild 
beasts, or from unlooked-for perils of the 
flood. They had thus far seen only animals, 
birds, and fish; nevertheless a strict guard 
was constantly maintained. "On this ac- 
count," says the record, "we make only a 
small fire on land, toward evening, to cook 
w 198 

Father Marquette 

our meals; and, after supper, we remove 
Ourselves as far from it as possible, and 
pass the night in our Canoes, which we an- 
chor in the river at some distance from the 
shore. This does not prevent us from al- 
ways posting one of the party as a sentinel, 
for fear of a surprise/' 

The adventurers had proceeded as far as 
the forty-first degree of latitude, according 
to their reckoning, '^ without discovering 
anything,^' when, on the twenty-fifth of June, 
they "perceived on the water's edge some 
tracks of men, and a narrow and somewhat 
beaten path leading to a fine prairie. We 
stopped to Examine it ; and, thinking that it 
was a road which Led to some village of 
savages. We resolved to go and reconnoiter 
it. We therefore left our two Canoes under 
the guard of our people, strictly charging 
Them not to allow themselves to be sur- 
prised, after which Monsieur JoUyet and I 
undertook this investigation — a rather haz- 
ardous one for two men who exposed them- 
selves, alone, to the mercy of a barbarous 
and Unknown people. We silently followed 
The narrow path, and, after walking About 




2 -fJ 


O fl 
3 §3 


5zi « 



















The Limit of the Journey 

2 leagues. We discovered a village on the 
bank of a river, and two others on a Hill 
distant abont half a league from the first." 

Standing at a distance, the Frenchmen 
shouted with all their energy, whereupon 
the savages swarmed out of their huts and 
sent four old men to meet them. '^ Two of 
these bore tobacco-pipes, finely ornamented 
and Adorned with various feathers. They 
walked slowly, and raised the pipes to the 
sun, seemingly offering them to it to smoke, 
— without, however, saying a word.'' These 
were calumets, or pipes of peace, and the 
ceremony shows us that the Illinois Indians, 
whom the explorers had now encountered, 
were worshipers of the sun, as the master 
of light and heat 

The day was spent in speeches, feasts, 
songs, and dances, which Marquette interest- 
ingly describes at length in his journal, with 
a chapter upon the characteristics and cus- 
toms of the Illinois, of whom he formed a 
highly favorable opinion. That night our 
friends slept in the cabin of the chief; ''on 
the following day we took Leave of him, 
promising to pass again by his village, with- 

Father Marquette 

in four moons. He Conducted us to our 
Canoes, with nearly 600 persons who wit- 
nessed our Embarkation, giving us every 
possible manifestation of the joy that Our 
visit had caused thenL • • . They admire 
our little Canoes, for they have never seen 
any like them.'' 

Not far above the mouth of the Missouri 
River, near the present Alton, IlL, they saw, 
painted high up on the smooth surface of a 
nearly perpendicular cliff, two hideous mon- 
sters, the work of some Indian artist whose 
imagination was well developed. '^They 
are as large as a Calf," writes Marquette; 
^^ they have Horns on their heads Like those 
of deer, a horrible look, red eyes, a beard 
Like a tiger's, a face somewhat like a man's, 
a body Covered with scales, and so Long a 
tail that it winds all around the Body, pass- 
ing above the head and going back between 
the legs, ending in a Fish's tail. Green, red, 
and black are the three Colors composing 
the Picture." The missionary acknowledges 
that he and his companion were at first much 
alarmed at these strange specimens of na^ 
tive art, which sought to depict the spirits 

The Limit of the Journey 

which controlled the river. But it must be 
remembered that, in the seventeenth century, 
men even of the caliber of Joliet and Mar- 
quette were more superstitious than now; 
and these Frenchmen were threading an un- 
known wilderness, filled with dangers of 
many sorts, which excited their imaginations 
to a high pitch. 

The Missouri, of course, attracted their 
attention. Marquette, with the true spirit 
of the explorer, writes : " I hope by its means 
to discover the vermillion or California sea. 
Judging from The Direction of the course 
of the Missisipi, if it Continue the same way, 
we think that it discharges into the mexican 
gulf. It would be a great advantage to find 
the river Leading to the southern sea, 
toward California. • • • I do not despair of 
discovering It some day, if God grant me 
the grace and The health to do so, in 
order that I may preach The Gospel to all 
The peoples of this new world who have so 
Long Groveled in the darkness of infidel- 
ity." Little he knew that the toils of 
his present journey had planted the seeds 
of death within him, and that his dream 

Father Marquette 

of reaching the Far West was to come to 

His present concern was the painted 
monsters, and the news that he had heard 
of the customs of the strange tribes upon 
the Missouri. Our canoeists, as they knelt 
to their paddles, were talking earnestly 
about these matters, when they ran into a 
new and unexpected danger. The broad 
and murky flood of the Missouri, burdened 
with great masses of trees and detached 
bog, issued forth with such violence that the 
mingled currents became greatly agitated, 
their boats were swirled around as if mere 
chips, and they stood in imminent risk of 
being upset. 

Extricating themselves at last from this 
peril, they proceeded happily, paddling and 
sailing by turns, as the wind either favored 
or retarded them. The Ohio's mouth, a mile- 
wide estuary, flanked by low-lying plains, 
was passed in due time ; rich deposits of iron 
were found hard by. Ere long, mosquitoes 
began to torment them. "We were com- 
pelled to erect a sort of cabin on The water,, 
with our sails as a protection against the 

The Limit of the Journey 

mosquitoes and the rays of the sun. While 
drifting down The current, in this condition, 
we perceived on land some savages armed 
with gims, who awaited us." The black- 
gown raised aloft the calumet given to him by 
the Illinois ; whereupon the Indians, probably 
of the warlike Chickasaw tribe, but " as much 
frightened as we were," invited the French- 
men ashore. They were found to possess 
not only guns, but " hatchets, hoes. Knives, 
beads, and flasks of double glass, in which 
they put Their powder" — ^having obtained 
these from tribes who traded with Spaniards 
living upon the Gulf of Mexico. 

Being told that they were now " no more 
than ten days' journey from The sea," the 
travelers took fresh courage. Buffaloes 
were bellowing on the broad bottom-lands, 
but could not be seen, because the banks were 
"bordered with lofty trees" — cottonwoods, 
elms, and basswoods. Small game was more 
abundant, giving them fresh meat for their 
modest cookery upon the shores. But their 
caution increased, for this was a strange 
land of forested morass, and hazards seemed 
to lurk at every turn. 

Father Marquette 

Near the moutb of the St. Francis Biver, 
in Arkansas, they came upon a village of 
Mitchigameas, situated by the water's edge, 
and were noisily attacked by the natives. 
Some of the young men *^ embarked in great 
wooden canoes" and hnrled dubs at the 
strangers, while others attempted to swim 
out in the strong current, apparently with 
the view of upsetting their slender craft. 
Marquette again displayed the calumet, 
which was not at first successful in quelling 
the uproar; but at last the old men quieted 
the hot-bloods, and the talisman was respect- 
ed. Two of the elders jumped into the ex- 
plorers' canoes, and " made us approach the 
shore, whereon we landed, not without fear 
on our part." 

'^ Passing the night among them, with 
some anxiety," they embarked early on the 
following day, with an interpreter who had 
offered his services — ^^ an old man who could 
speak a little Ilinois," the only one of the 
six languages mastered by Marquette which 
found upon these Southern waters a re- 
sponsive ear. In order to obtain such in- 
formation as they sought, they had been ad- 







5 ^ 




^ CO 

S ^ I 

-M ft 

be *^ 


« Pi 




The Limit of the Journey 

vised to visit an Arkansas village, eight or 
ten leagues below. As escort thither, ** a 
canoe containing ten savages went a short 
distance ahead of ns." 

The Arkansas Indians dwelt npon the 
east side of the Mississippi, opposite the 
mouth of the river which bears their name. 
As the little flotilla approached this bankside 
village of bark cabins, two canoes came out 
to meet the visitors, and friendly relations 
were at once established by means of the in- 
valuable calumet. Our friends were pro- 
fusely entertained by these civil-spoken 
tribesmen, who produced from their number 
a young man who was more familiar with the 
Illinois dialect than was the interpreter 
brought from the Mitchigamea. Corn and 
dog's flesh were persistently forced upon the 
white men, being cooked in earthen vessels 
and served upon wooden platters, while wa- 
termelons were brought as an especial treat. 

The entire day was given up to this feast, 
for Indians know no limit to their hospital- 
ity. But in the midst of this surfeit of food, 
and the accompanying dances, the explorers 
were filling their note-books with what in- 

Father Marquette 

formation they could obtain concerning the 
river below, the inhabitants along its bank, 
and the beliefs and customs of their enter- 
tainers. It appeared that the Arkansas 
dwelt much in fear of the neighboring tribes, 
such as the Chickasaws, who had obtained 
guns from the Spanish traders to the south, 
and prevented their passing down the river. 
They themselves bought hatchets, knives, 
and beads from tribes living toward the east, 
who traded with Europeans, and from an 
Illinois band who dwelt four days westward; 
guns they were unable to obtain. 

In the course of their oratory throughout 
the day — Marquette dwelling upon the truths 
of Christianity, and Joliet upon the power 
of New France — the French leaders made 
the usual presents to their hosts, but re- 
ceived little in return, for the latter were 
not wealthy, their principal possession being 
buffalo-robes. During the night, some of 
the envious natives sought to murder their 
guests, and thus to possess themselves of the 
store of trinkets which had been brought as 
gifts to the savages ; but the chief put a stop 
to these plots, and made the visitors a pres- 

The Limit of the Journey 

ent of his own calumet^ as a guarantee of 
future safety. 

Within, their own cabin, Joliet and Mar- 
quette, who probably were too excited to sleep, 
held " a council, to deliberate upon what we 
should do — ^whether we should push on, or 
remain content with the discovery which we 
had made." They were now convinced that 
"beyond a doubt, the Missisipi river dis- 
charges into the florida or Mexican gulf, and 
not to The east in Virginia. . . . We further 
considered that we exposed ourselves to the 
risk of losing the results of this voyage, of 
which we could give no information if we 
proceeded to fling ourselves into the hands 
of the Spaniards — ^who, without doubt, would 
at least have detained us as captives. More- 
over, we saw very plainly that we were not 
in a condition to resist Savages allied to The 
Europeans, who were numerous, and expert 
in firing guns, and who continually infested 
the lower part of the river. Finally, we had 
obtained all the information that could be 
desired in regard to this discovery." 

The explorers were assured by the In- 
dians that they were, in any event, but two 

Father Marquette 

or three days' distance from the mouth of 
the great waterway. In this, however^ their 
reckoning was sadly at fault, for the junc- 
tion of the Arkansas is seven hundred miles 
from the gulf. Had they known this, they 
probably would, great as were the dangers 
before them, have ventured still farther upon 
their way. As it was, they discreetly de- 
termined to return home and report. 




It was upon the seventeenth of July, just 
two months after they had bidden farewell 
to Mackinac, and a month after their dis- 
covery of the great river at Prairie du Chien, 
when the explorers took formal leave of the 
feasting Arkansas, and set forth to retrace 
their steps. Paddling against the strong 
current was a far different exercise from 
that of descending. It was now necessary 
laboriously to cross and recross the broad 
stream, threading their way among the is- 
lands, in order to avoid the swiftest water. 
The banks of the lower Mississippi are not 
always easy for the canoeist to follow, for 
deceptive bayous often lead far inland, be- 
coming at last choked with overhanging trees 
festooned with moss and vines, and neces- 
sitating a long return to the proper channel. 
As the summer weeks slowly wore on, the 
temperature and the mosquitoes became al- 

Father Marquette 

most unbearable upon these malarial shores ; 
and camping at night, often without fire, or 
sleeping in the anchored canoes in order to 
avoid surprise, with night fogs chilling them 
to the bone, were unhealthful conditions for 
any of these weary men — to one of Mar- 
quette's rather delicate physique, it meant 
the collapse which soon followed. 

As far as the Illinois Biver, the toilsome 
journey was accomplished without adven- 
ture; for they had learned where perils 
lurked, and by dint of extreme caution avoid- 
ed them. It was pleasant news to be told 
that the Illinois offered a shorter route 
to Lake Michigan than the Pox- Wisconsin 
waterway, and led past villages of Illinois 
Indians, whose apparent leaning toward 
Christianity had long ago won the heart of 
the black-gown, when he had met these 
people at La Pointe. The travelers deter- 
mined, therefore, to use this route. Writes 
Marquette: "We have seen nothing like 
this river that we enter, as regards its 
fertility of soil, its prairies and woods; its 
cattle, elk, deer, wildcats, bustards, swans, 
ducks, paroquets, and even beaver. It is/' 

A Winter at St. Fran9ois Xavier 

he continued, "wide, deep, and still, for 
65 leagues." 

At a place about seven miles below the 
present city of Ottawa, they visited a village 
of seventy-four long cabins, each of these 
housing several families. It was called Kas- 
kaskia — but was not the town of the same 
name, some two hundred and fifty miles 
southwestward, that afterward became fa- 
mous in Western history. Here the stran- 
gers were well received during their stay of 
three days, and Marquette, in response to an 
invitation to establish a mission among his 
hosts, promised to return for that purpose. 

From this place they were conducted to 
Lake Michigan by one of the chiefs and a 
small party of young warriors. By exactly 
what route our friends were guided is not 
known. From the Des Plaines, the northern 
fork of the Illinois, there were two ways of 
reaching the great lake by canoe — either by 
carrying the craft over a slight watershed 
into the Chicago River, which we know to 
have been the path usually chosen in later 
days by explorers, fur-traders, and soldiers ; 
or by similarly portaging to the neighboring 

Father Marquette 

Calumet, which empties into the lake at the 
present South Chicago. Antiquarians are 
divided in their opinions as to which of these 
was chosen by the friendly Indians ; for, in- 
asmuch as Marquette appears to have taken 
the same route in returning the following 
year, and dwelt upon its banks for several 
months, the interesting question arises, 
whether or not he can be counted as a pio- 
neer settler of the giant city of the West. 
Neither Joliet^s map nor Marquette's is suf- 
ficiently detailed to solve this problem, and 
the latter's journal is equally obscure. Most 
historians have, however, favored the route 
known to have been afterward most used, 
that of the Chicago Biver. 

At last reaching Lake Michigan, by 
whichever portage, the two canoes boldly 
struck out along the western shore, which, for 
nearly the entire distance of three hundred 
miles, consists of undulating bluffs of whit- 
ish clay: sometimes projecting, beachless, 
far into the lake, again receding in graceful 
curves which enclose broad beadbies of sand, 
thick strewn with willows and coarse sedges. 
Progress here was not rapid. A strong 

A Winter at St. Fran9ois Xavier 

southward current is notioeable upon this 
coast, so that later canoe expeditions to the 
Illinois country adopted a reverse route, fol- 
lowing the west bank in going and the east 
in returning; and the waves of this inland 
sea, particularly when lashed by northern 
and eastern gales, often run so high as to 
swamp such slender boats as those in which 
journeyed these seven adventurous French- 
men. By night, or during stormy weather, 
they camped upon the strand; like Indians, 
huddling driftwood together to sustain their 
crude mats of woven reeds as a shelter 
against wind and rain. 

Green Bay is separated from Lake Michi- 
gan by a bold peninsula some eighty miles 
long. About half-way down its length, 
Sturgeon Bay deeply indents it from the 
west, the head of this water being separated 
from the lake by a sandy plain some two 
miles in width. To those journeying by 
water between Green Bay and points upon 
the Michigan lake-shore, a hundred and fifty 
miles of weary paddling could be saved by 
carrying canoes over the intervening neck of 
land, which had from time immemorial been 
16 X 209 

Father Marquette 

used by Indians as a portage path. In our 
day, when larger craft are needed, a United 
States Government canal connects the bay 
and the lake at this point 

The adventurers at last arrived at that 
point upon the coast where the old portage 
trail led from the water's edge up the rocky 
bank, and disappeared within the primeval 
forest of pine. Their canoes, now no doubt 
sadly worn by the long, rough voyage, were 
carried upon the heads of some of the party, 
while others strung upon their shoulders the 
packs of food and shelter-mats. All, appar- 
ently, were spent with toil and enfeebled by 
disorders incident to their hazardous jour- 
ney through strange lands, during which 
they had often lacked proper food, shelter, 
and rest. The rough trail, under the somber 
woodland arches, must have been traveled 
with some diflSculty and with many pauses by 
the wayside; but the tonic odor of the pines 
somewhat revived them, and it was with joy 
unspeakable that finally they launched their 
little vessels upon Sturgeon Bay, whose 
waters opened an uninterrupted path to their 
friends and countrymen at De Pere, 

A Winter at St. Fran9ois Xavier 

At the end of September they reached 
their destination, the Jesuit mission of St. 
Francois Xavier, by the side of the lowest 
rapids of the Fox — ^whence, four months pre- 
vious, they had started forth aglow with ex- 
pectation and in the bloom of healthful 
youth. Marquette has left us, in his simple 
tale, no word concerning their reception. 
But we know full well that it must have been 
a glad reunion. We can, in imagination, 
picture the joyful tears and embraces with 
which the seven sick and weary men were 
greeted upon their landing — ^black-gowns, 
donnas, servants, and perhaps a trader or 
two, hurrying down to the river^s brink, with 
shouts of triumphant welcome; stolid sav- 
ages lining the banks above, silently wonder- 
ing at tiiis safe return of the pale faces from 
those unspeakable terrors with which tribal 
traditions peopled unknown lands. Then, in 
the little bark chapel, prayers of thanksgiv- 
ing for the deliverance of these children of 
God from the dangers of field and flood ; and 
that night, by the fire in the long council-hut, 
no doubt weary harangues of welcome by the 
chiefs, with pipes of peace circling around 

Father Marquette 

the squatted throng, and grunts of satisfac- 
tion at the words of Marquette and Joliet, 
who skilfully clothed their accounts in that 
flowery language so essential in an Indian 

It was too late, this season, for Joliet to 
undertake the long return journey. Before 
he could reach Quebec winter would set in 
and entrap him on the way. Moreover, it 
was necessary that they should all recruit 
their strength. Marquette, having been 
transferred to St. Francois Xavier mission, 
was at home ; even had he not been, travel 
for him was out of the question, for of all 
the party he had been most enfeebled by the 
expedition which had brought the great river 
of the Mississippi into the knowledge of the 

The long winter at De Pere was passed 
quietly by our heroes. Each wrote his 4>wn 
report of the discovery — Marquette's in the 
form of a letter to his superior-general, Fa- 
ther Dablon; Joliet's, doubtless more de- 
tailed, was intended for the governor of New 
France, who had sent him thither. They 
made each a map of the country visited; and 


1> '« 

8 I 





A Winter at St. Francois Xavier 

Joliet appears to have prepared other pa- 
pers of importance concerning the expedi- 
tion — ^bnt exactly what they were we shall 
never know. No doubt he entertained him- 
self with trips to outlying villages, with the 
fur-traderSy or accompanying the mi^ion- 
arieSy who were ever on the move ; and Mar- 
quette of course assisted, so far as his 
strength would allow, in the regular work 
of the mission — baptizing the sick, the dying, 
and children; giving solace to the weary in 
heart, losing no opportunity for instructing 
the simple tribesmen in the mysteries of 
Christianity, and combating the jealous and 
ever-troublesome medicine-men. 

When the time arrived for Mackinac 
straits to be cleared of ice, Joliet bade fare- 
well to his friend, and, with his crew of boat- 
men, set forth in high spirits upon his voy- 
age to Quebec. He passed in safety down 
the surging flood of the Ottawa Biver route 
as far as La Chine rapids, just above Mon- 
treal, when his canoe was there upset, his 
crew and all his papers were lost, and he 
himself barely missed a similar fate, after 
struggling in the tumultuous waters for four 

Father Marquette 

hours. Thus robbed of his journal and 
elaborate map of the new country, poor 
Joliet was in a sorry plight when finally he 
reached the little capital of New France. In 
the Jesuit Relation of that year, Father Da- 
blon, who had " interviewed '* the luckless 
explorer, wrote (August 1, 1674) a brief, 
hurried account of the discovery, "put to- 
gether after hearing him converse, while 
waiting for the relation, of which father 
Marquette is keeping a copy." 

Joliet does not appear to have succeeded in 
winning that immediate recognition from the 
government of New France which he thought 
due him. For several years he held minor 
positions ; but, six years after the discovery, 
was granted extensive fishing privileges upon 
the lower St. Lawrence River, and in 1680 was 
given, together with a public office, the island 
of Anticosti, also a profitable fishing-ground. 
Upon this island he resided with his family ; 
and was growing rich, when in 1690 Phips^s 
fleet destroyed his establishment and he was 
ruined. At the time of his death (1700), al- 
though owning a large tract of land near Que- 
bec, he was suffering from poverty, 

A Winter at St. Fran9ois Xavier 

Father Marquette, seeking neither fame 
nor riches, was content, in his humble home 
upon the Fox, with reporting to his superior- 
general. This account, together with his 
map of the region, was in due time for- 
warded to Quebec, probably by the hands of 
Ottawa Indians going thither in a fleet of 
canoes upon their annual trip to attend the 
great rendezvous of Indians and French 
traders upon the lower St. Lawrence. 

The original map drawn by Marquette 
can still be seen in the archives of St. Mary^s 
College, in Montreal. But the whereabouts 
of his manuscript narrative of this famous 
voyage is unknown; our extracts are taken 
from a copy made by Father Dablon, which 
still exists in these archives. Dablon^s " in- 
terview*' with Joliet was not published in 
Paris until Marquette was dying in the land 
of the Illinois; while the latter's full report 
of the discovery did not see print until six 
years after he had passed away. He could 
never have known of the unfortunate loss of 
Joliet's papers, and therefore died unaware 
that he alone was the reporter of the expedi- 
tion. For only his journal, safely delivered 

Father Marquette 

to the snperior-generaly was published to the 
world. The man who cared not for fame un- 
wittingly won it; while the one who sought 
honors gained, because of an accident, but 
slight recognition, and has only in our own 
time come to be generally recognieed as a full 
partner in the great discovery. 




As a result of hardships endured upon 
the voyage of discovery, Father Marquette 
had acquired an aihnent which defied all at- 
tempts at cure. He wished, most eagerly, 
to return to his mission in Illinois, which he 
had promised to revisit early in the year. 
His good friend Joliet had now departed for 
the East, leaving him at St. Frangois Xavier, 
impatient to take up the Southern journey. 
But the spring wore on, and then the sum- 
mer, yet he was still a sick man, unable to 
wander far from even such small comforts 
as the little mission hut afforded, and ^^he 
was giving up the hope of undertaking a 
second*' voyage. 

In the early autumn, however, he thought 
himself cured, and sought from his superior- 
general permission to pass the winter among 
the Illinois. Orders acceding to his wishes 
at last came from Quebec, and he started 
from De Pere upon the twenty-fifth of Octo- 

Father Marquette 

ber, 1674, after thirteen months of unwelcome 
inactivity. With him were two men, Pierre 
Porteret and one called Jacques, whose last 
name is unrecorded ; one of these had accom- 
panied him upon the first voyage. 

The details of this second and last expedi- 
tion are given in a diary kept by the mission- 
ary until within a few weeks of his death. 
The original manuscript, blotted and weath- 
er-stained, is still preserved as a precious 
relic at St. Mary's College, in Montreal. Ac- 
companying it is an account written by Fa- 
ther Dablon, gathered partly from this diary 
and partly from conversations with the com- 
panions of Marquette. From both together, 
we obtain these particulars of the closing 
months of the devoted apostle to the Illi- 

At the Sturgeon Bay portage, they joined 
a fleet of nine canoes — four filled with Illi- 
nois Indians, and five with Pottawattomies, 
all bound for Kaskaskia, which had been vis- 
ited by Marquette the year before. Follow- 
ing up the western shore of Lake Michigan, 
they were, throughout their voyage of some- 
what over a mdnth, much distressed by 

§--^ ■ 



f *-3 

^fjt.u^c^^ f^^^ '^ '. , ^ ^ e^u€*i^ fu§//iach, 

f/J^4jc^ dCcti.. jfujL ^pu ttrfuf oiu^ pi^ttj » . 

\u*^ ^u^t^ ^^<~~^ l^'^tu^ jL AtiUHt^ ^ ^Li^«r^>»<: ./<»*r ^.mm*^.; <»*<- 

^^ -/rW- ^**^ ^^«^ ^***:»*e«l , ^ yilu^/^i^-r/ rfw-AwTit^ ^ <)&^ ^^^t^uMn^f**- ' 
'■Ac^ dtlfn^hL -^ taa*^^ A^Ati/c^^ dtC^*n/^t$4^ ^jtorf^f/e***- ^UuGur /jliu)( ^.^ 

^u. £»uJL. Mt*a^ seitcct/ ^^ iu.jU- ra£4ut*u.t^ ^ ^uu^»/ i /tmoi t fi^ .i >^#dW^ 
^UU^t^-^^^'*"^ ^^»uMu*<^4»^^t0ct^ U*^, ^ ^W ditpi^ ^^JL ^^jtuituj /»Mi^ 

^fj,^ w«*/^^^w icJi^^^'^**-e*^'^^j:zt 

Ailk/^w-^^ e^y^L^^^'^^'^; ^^^yf*^^^^ ^'^ **^'i ./ . 

'■i^^ ..i^MkL L^:^,. 


(Original MS. in St. Mary's College archives, Montreal. Reproduced from the Jesuit Relations, 
vol. lix, by permission of Barrowrs Brothers Co.) 

Relief in Death 

stormy weather and cold. Frequently were 
they detained two and three days at a time, 
and on one occasion five days, waiting for 
" the great agitation of the lake " to subside. 
Blinding snow-storms sometimes enveloped 
them ; often floating masses of ice prevented 
their landing; several times they met friend- 
ly Indians upon the shores — among them a 
stray band of Mascoutens — and stopped and 
parleyed with them; an important occupa- 
tion was the hunting of game — turkeys, geese, 
partridges, deer, and buffaloes. 

During the first half of this long journey, 
the monotony of which the father often 
sought to vary by walking along the beach 
while his canoe kept within hailing distance, 
he was in tolerable health. But as soon as 
the snow began to fall, it was evident that 
the constant exposure — for slight indeed was 
the shelter that he could obtain in the little 
hut of reeds reared upon the wind-swept 
beaches — was too great for the stricken man 
to endure. He was again seized with his ail- 
ment, and (December 4) putting into the 
Chicago River, "which was frozen to the 
depth of half a foot,^' had perforce to pass 

Father Marquette 

the winter there, in a wretdied apology of 
a cabin ereeted hy hia men ^near the por- 
tage, 2 leagues np the river." They were 
visited oeeasionally by deputations of sym- 
pathetic minoiSy who expressed mnch sor- 
row at the missionary's plight; and, bring- 
ing gifts and medicines, besought him to 
proceed to their villages as soon as might 
be. Early in January, a Frendi trader, op- 
erating eighteen leagues away, sent the good 
man dried blueberries and com by the hands 
of a surgeon who was passing the winter at 
the trading camp. 

It will be remembered that when the 
young scholar of Laon, Jacques Marquette, 
was dreaming, far away in sunny France, of 
following in the footsteps of the great mis- 
sionary St Francois Xavier, he prayed that 
to him, also, might come the blessed experi- 
ence of carrying the Gospel of Christ to 
many strange nations, and then of dying 
alone in the wilderness. Plainly he now per- 
ceived his weakness increasing from day to 
day, ''that God was granting to him the 
favor which he had so many times besought 
from him.'' Informing his sorrowing com- 



o _ 

< d 

° s 

H B 

W ^ 

2 ^ 







^ CO 



Relief in Death 

panions of his approaching end, he exhorted 
them ^^as much as his strength permitted^" 
but passed the greater part of his time in 

The winter had been unusually harsh 
upon this almost treeless waste of alternat- 
ing swamp and sand-dunes, upon which, a 
century and a half later, the city of Chicago 
was reared. But the approach of spring 
brought renewed vitality to the poor invalid, 
and in the closing days of March the three 
Frenchmen set out to pursue their voyage 
to the Illinois villages upon the river of that 
name. They "spent eleven Days upon the 
Way, during which time he had occasion to 
suffer much, both from his own Illness, from 
which he had not entirely recovered, and 
from the very severe and unfavorable weath- 
er.'' That his health had suddenly grown 
much worse, is evident from the fact that 
the last entry in his journal is dated the 
sixth of April, while he and his men were 
awaiting favorable weather to descend the 
Des Plaines Biver. Apparently he did not 
again set his pen to paper. 

Beaching the great village of the Illinois 

Father Marquette 

upon the eighth, ''he was received as an 
angel from Heaven.'' After considerable 
instmction, the missionary, three days be- 
fore Easter, addressed the savages at a 
general conncil, ''which he called together 
in the open Air, the Cabins being too small 
to contain all the people. It was a beantif nl 
prairie, close to a village, which was Selected 
for the great Council." A large framework 
had been bnilt of saplings, and covered with 
reed mats and bearskins; upon lines 
stretched near the temporary altar erected 
within this slender tabernacle, were hung 
"several pieces of Chinese taffeta, attached 
to these four large Pictures of the blessed 
Virgin, which were visible on all Sides.'' 
Seated in a circle around the father were five 
hundred chiefs and elders, while all about 
stood the young men, to the number of a 
thousand. For this was an unusually large 
village, composed of five or six hundred 

Father Marquette was no doubt a preach- 
er of rare power. Not only on this occasion, 
but for several days following, "he was lis- 
tened to by all those peoples with universal 

Relief in Death 

Joy; and they prayed him with most earnest 
Entreaty to come back to them as soon as 
possible, since his sickness obliged him to 
return. The father, on his Side, expressed 
to them, the affection which he felt for them, 
and the satisfaction that they had given him ; 
and pledged them his word that he, or some 
other of our fathers would return to Carry 
on that mission so happily Inaugurated. 
This promise he repeated several times, 
while parting with them to go upon his Way ; 
and he set out with so many tokens of regard 
on the part of Those good peoples that, as a 
mark of honor they chose to escort him for 
more than 30 leagues on the Road, vying with 
each other in taking Charge of his slender 

The end was not far distant. Realizing 
that death might claim him at any moment, 
the drooping apostle, supported by his two 
devoted servants, painfully found their way 
back to the mouth of Chicago River. His 
destination was now the mission of St. 
Ignace, where, if God so willed, he might 
lay down this mantle of flesh, and pass to 
his reward. 


Father Marquette 

To reach the straits of Mackiiiac, he must 
needs proceed down the eastern shore of 
Lake Michigan, taking advantage of the 
north-setting current, which soon came to be 
followed by the fleets of the fur-traders. 
Day by day, when weather permitted, the lit- 
tle canoe was propelled along the coast — in 
the best of seasons, a slow and painful jour- 
ney. But in April and early May, chilling 
gales often lash the sea into fury; and now 
there were but two rowers, with a heavy bur- 
den between them, as they knelt to their sor- 
rowful task. As for the poor young mis- 
sionary, who had so long been suffering mar- 
tyrdom in the cause of the Master, '^his 
strength was so rapidly diminishing that his 
two men despaired of being able to bring 
him alive To the end of their journey. In- 
deed," continues Father Dablon, '^ he became 
so feeble and exhausted that he was imable 
to assist or even to move himself, and had to 
be handled and carried about like a child." 

The eastern coast of Lake Michigan pre- 
sents an entirely different appearance from 
that of the Wisconsin side. The prevalent 
western winds have, through the ages, swept 

Relief in Death 

the beach sand into great white hills which 
so closely fringe the shore as to present a 
most forbidding aspect to the traveler by 
water. Here and there this bleak rampart 
is deeply cleft by rivers, forcing their way 
through to the great basin without — ^thus 
furnishing harbors, wherein storm-driven 
craft may enter and obtain shelter behind 
the protecting range of dunes. 

Within the mouths of several such rivers 
did our weary canoeists camp by night or 
during storms — that of St. Joseph, also a 
pathway to the Mississippi, afterward used 
by La Salle's and many another famous ex- 
pedition to the South ; and those of Kalama- 
zoo, Grand, and Muskegon, upon whose far- 
stretching banks the Michigan fur trade long 
flourished under French, English, and Amer- 
icans in turn. 

Throughout the voyage, Marquette's 
chief thoughts were of his devoted compan- 
ions, and of preparation for his own end. 
As he lay, reclining upon reed-mats in the 
bottom of the canoe, or upon the sand within 
their shelter-hut, he frequently gave relig- 
ious instruction to his boatmen, who listened 
i« 225 

Father Marquette 

to him as one divinely inspired, speaking to 
ihem from the edge of the grave. His in- 
structions as to what was to be done when 
the death-agony was upon him, and concern- 
ing the disposition of his body, were most 
minute. ^*He spoke of all these things," 
writes Dablon, "with so great tranquillity 
and presence of mind that one might have 
supposed that he was concerned with the 
death and funeral of some other person, and 
not with his own." 

" Thus did he converse with them as they 
made their way upon the lake — until, hav- 
ing perceived a river, on the shore of which 
stood an eminence that he deemed well suited 
to the place of his interment, he told them 
that That was the place of his last repose." 
This river, which for several miles inland 
takes on the character of a long, narrow lake, 
was what is now called the P6re Marquette ; 
upon its shore has been built the Michigan 
city of Ludington. 

The day was not far spent, and the weath- 
er being favorable, the boatmen wished to 
proceed farther upon their way. But, Da- 
blon tells us, " God raised a Contrary wind^ 






2 "fl 

is I 


Relief in Death 

which compelled them to return^ and enter 
the river which the father had pointed out. 
They accordingly brought him to the land, 
lighted a little fire for him, and prepared 
for him a wretched Cabin of bark. They 
laid him down therein, in the least uncom- 
fortable way that they could ; but they were 
so stricken with sorrow that, as they have 
since said, they hardly knew what they were 

While his men were tearfully engaged 
about him in the business of the camp. Fa- 
ther Marquette spent the brief remainder of 
his life in prayer. They especially heard 
him give thanks to God for being a mission- 
ary of Christ, and above all for dying " as 
he had always prayed, in a Wretched cabin 
in the midst of the forest and bereft of all 
human succor." Between the hours of eleven 
and midnight, upon the same day, — Satur- 
day, the eighteenth of May, 1675, — "with a 
countenance beaming and all aglow, he ex- 
pired without any Struggle, and so gently 
that it might have been regarded as a pleas- 
ant sleep." 




BuBTiNO the body of their master as 
directed, and planting at his feet a large 
cross in order to mark the grave, the sor- 
rowing survivors harried on as best they 
could to St Ignace to report the loss; and 
during the following summer were in Que- 
bec, bearing similar tidings. 

The sad news soon spread far and wide 
throughout the missions of the upper lakes* 
The following winter, some Klskakons, 
whom Marquette had instructed at La 
Pointe, hunted near the shores of Lake 
Michigan. In the spring, upon their return, 
they sought ^^ the grave of their good father, 
whom they tenderly loved," desiring to carry 
his bones, after the fashion of Indians, to 
St Ignace, where they now dwelt 

In accordance with their custom, they dis- 
sected the body, ^' cleansed the bones and ex- 
posed them in the sun to dry; then, carefully 

^ z, 







.2 I: 

3^ c3 

Marquette's Place in History 

laying them in a box of birch-bark, they set 
out to bring them to our mission of St Ig- 
nace." Thirty canoes, filled with both Kis- 
kakons and Iroquois, formed the funeral 
procession. When, after a voyage of nearly 
two hundred and fifty miles, they drew near 
the strand of St. Ignace, Father Nonvel, now 
superior of the Ottawa mission, accompanied 
by Father Pierson, rowed out and " put the 
usual questions to them, to make sure that 
It was really the father's body which they 
were bringing." Satisfied with the replies, 
the two priests ^^ Intoned the de profundis 
in the presence of the 30 Canoes, which were 
still on the water, and of the people who were 
on the shore." 

Upon being taken to the church, the body 
'^remained exposed under the pall, all that 
Day, which was whitsun-monday, the 8th of 
June; and on the morrow, after having ren- 
dered to it all the funeral rites, it was low- 
ered into a small Vault in the middle of the 
church, where it rests as the guardian angel 
of our outaouacs [Ottawas] mission. The 
savages often come to pray over his tomb." 

The little church at St. Ignace was de- 

Father Marquette 

stroyed by fire in 1700, and for a century 
and three-quarters all traces of the site and 
of Marquette's resting-place were lost. But 
in September, 1877, Father Edward Jacker, 
a learned missionary priest then in charge 
of the parish of St. Ignace, discovered the 
few mortal remains of his great predecessor 
— some small fragments of bone, together 
with scraps of the birch box in which the 
body had been encased by the Easkakons two 
centuries before. About a fourth of these 
relics are now exhibited in the church of St. 
Ignace; the others, in the Jesuit college in 
Milwaukee, which bears his name« 

Above Marquette's gra^e, upon the old 
mission site, has been reared an untasteful 
monument of marble, visited and photo- 
graphed each summer by thousands of tour- 
ists — for the once far-away straits of Macki- 
nac, where Marquette, Dablon, and Pierson 
zealously sought to convert the nomadic 
tribes of the wilderness, is now one of the 
most popular resorts in America. In the 
Capitol at Washington is shown another 
monument, a well-executed ideal statue of 
our hero, by an accomplished Italian sculptor, 


(Now in the Capitol at Washington ; a replica, in bronze, \» at Marqnette, Mich. 
The subject is idealized ; there is no attempt at a portrait.) 

Marquette's Place in History 

the gift of the State of Wisconsin; but the 
jaunty pose and well-groomed aspect of 
this marble effigy surely do not represent 
the son of Laon as he was. Better, by far, 
the reputed portrait which we give as fron- 
tispiece to this volume — discovered by curi- 
ous chance in Montreal a few years since, 
and having strong claim to probability. In 
this we may trace the lineaments of a man 
who at least might have resembled Marquette 
in gentleness and spiritual force. Unfortu- 
nately, no other portrait bearing any prob- 
able resemblance to our hero is known to be 
in existence. 

Father Marquette died in his thirty- 
eighth year, after an experience of less than 
nine years as a missionary. Soon ordered, 
after his arrival in Canada, to the then far 
Northwest, he toiled in a comparatively nar- 
row field, until his great expedition in Jo- 
lief s company brought his name prominent- 
ly before the world. We have seen that the 
news of that voyage had barely been pub- 
lished before he fell a victim to the rigors 
of his task. Tet in that brief period his 

Father Marquette 

character had deeply impressed itself upon 
the Ottawa missions. No one has better de- 
scribed him than Dablon, in a circular letter 
addressed to the members of the order, re- 
citing the death and virtues of his friend. 
Writes the superior-general: '^He always 
labored with much fatigue and great success 
at the conversion of the savages in our most 
arduous missions among the Outawas. He 
was one of the most accomplished Mission- 
aries that we had. He possessed all the vir- 
tues of one, to a sovereign degree : universal 
zeal, an angelic chastity, an incomparable 
kindness and sweetness, a childlike candor, 
a very close union with God. • • . I should 
never finish this letter were I to attempt to 
say all the good that we know of him . . . 
we have every reason to believe that after 
having lived as a true missionary, and died 
as an apostle, God took him away from us 
BO early only to reward him in heaven for 
all his labors." 

It is idle to ask whether to Joliet or to 
Marquette shall be given the greater credit 
for the discovery of the Mississippi. Their 
names, in this connection, must always be 

Marquette's Place in History 

meBtioned in commOB; the priest, certainly, 
was as important to the expedition as was 
the civilian, and it is to the Jesuit that we 
owe the record. Bnt, apart from this incident 
in his career, Father Marquette stands in 
history as typical of the highest ideals and 
achievements in the splendid missionary en- 
terprise of the Jesuits of New Prance. Oth- 
ers of his order, in America, were doubtless 
greater than he, suffered more acutely, spent 
more years in the service ; but popular imagi- 
nation in America has perhaps more gener- 
ally centered upon the hero of this tale than 
upon any of his fellows. He was, in truth, a 
man of action as well as ideas; a true ex- 
plorer as well as a scholastic ; a rare linguist ; 
a preacher of undoubted capacity ; gifted with 
unusual powers of mastery over the minds 
of fierce savages; and his saintly character 
will long remain an inspiration to men of 
every creed and calling. 




ABENAKI Indians, Jemiti 
among, 40, 101, 1(», 

Acadia, Jesuita in, 46. 

Acbiliisouiane Indiana, 64. 

Adaisan Indians, 46. 

Albanel, Charles, Jesuit mission- 
aiy, 188. 

Albany (N. T.), fur trade at, 49, 60. 

Algonkin Indians, described, 89- 
41, 46 ; language, 77, 88, 186 ; at 
Sault, 66; at Klaokinao, 110; 
trade with Quebec, 146. 

AUouez, Claude Jean, Jesuit mis- 
sionarj, 16; at La Fointe, 64, 
70-78, 74, 78, 77, 100, 166; at 
Sault, 166; on Green Bay, 78, 
153, 16(m60 ; at Point Keweenaw, 
100 ; among Mascoutens, 186-188, 
175, 176, 178, 180, 184, 186 ; on Fox 
River, 160, 160, 178, 175 ; on Wolf 
Birer, 161 ; at De Pere, 167-168 ; 
superior of Ottawa mission, 66, 
66, 60, 110, 119. 

Alton (HI.), Joliet and Marquette 
near, 106. 

Amiooure Indians, 64. 

Andr6, Louis, Jesuit missionary, 
at Manitoulin Island, 106, 106 ; 
Sault, 110; De Fdre, 117, 108- 
164, 168. 

Anticosti Island, Joliet on, 814. 

Appleton (Wis.), 171. 

Arkansas Indians, JoUet and Mar- 
quette among, 900-9M. 

Ashland (Wis.), 70. 
Assiniboine fwdia^Wt meet Mar* 

quette, 88. 
Attacapan Indians, 46. 

BEARS, 78, 180, 107. 
Beaver Indians, 48. 

Beavers, 180. 

Beothukan Indians, 41 

Berlin (Wis.), 176, 184, 186. 

Beschefer, Thierry, Jesuit mis- 
sionary, 80, 147. 

Biard, Pierre, Jesuit missionary, 

Black robe (black gown), Indian 
name for Jesuits, 88, 46, 68, 78, 
106, 110, 181. 

Br6beuf , Jean de, Jesuit misslon- 
aiy, 15. 

Bressani, Ftancesoo aioseppe, Jes- 
uit missionary, 15. 

Buffaloes, 78, 174, 187, 188, 191, 198, 
199, 819. 

Burrows Brothers Co., reprint of 
Jesuit Relations, zi, td. 

CADDOAN Indians, 46. 
Cape Breton Island, Jesuits 
on, 46. 
Casson, Fraagois DoUier de, at 

Sault, 188-181. 
Cayuga Indians, 41. 
Ohabanel, NoSl, Jesuit missionary, 


Father Marquette 



, FtofTi Jonpli Kaito, 


vltt. SeeaJMLAPointe. 
Chlesfo, Joiifll and MMrqaetto «k» 

iz« 107, 106 ; MmqiMtt At, »•- 


CkicloMW iDdtaM, : JoUet and 
Marqoette amosf , IM. Ml. 

Choctaw IndlaBiktf. 

OolUnffwood (Ont), M. 

M-ir, UM, 1», 177. 

Or— ImMaiM, 40» «; In Ottawa 



•^-^ rionary, 16; Mqierlor at 
flanlt, 60, M, 71, 110, 160-161, 165- 
168; supflrior-ceMral, 111-111, 
117, IM, 166, m, no, aO; de- 
■oribea Ma^lrlnae, 87-80, 04-«6; 
dewnribea MiMiHiiipl, 110-118; 
dMcribea Fom. Btrer, 171-176; 
anung MaaooutMia, 116, 176, 177, 
170 ; at De Para, 160-161, 165-166; 
''InterTlewa** JoUet, 114, 115; 
narratlYa of 
and burial, 118, m-HO, nSL 


Doer, HO. 

Dolaware iBdiaai, 60. 

Do Fore (Wis.), orlgiB of name, 168, 
171 ; Niooletat, 168; Joonlt mte- 
•Ion, ix, 166-160; deocribod by 
DablOB, 165-168 ; AUoiioi at, 157- 

168; Andr«, 168, 168, 168; JoUet 
aBdMarqiMtfto, 166, 166, 168-171, 
110«7; Maiqnetto fflat, 111-117. 

Do Soto, Fernando, diaoovon Mio- 

Detroit (Mich.), foonded, 110. 

Donnte (given men), oompanione 
of Jeeulte, 86, 87, 111, 114, 166, 

at, 171, 171. 

DrfUUettea, Qabriel, Jeeoit iate> 
rionary, 16 ; in New England, », 
101; inatruota Marquette, »47, 
188; atflault, 101, 108, 100, 110. 

Dncka, 78, 164, 166. 

Dolnth, Daniel Qreyiolon, training 

Dutch, relaUona with Iroqoola, 40. 

Du That, Gilbert, Jeouit brother, 


IIIB, Maater, arrirea at Que- 

EngUih, relationa with Iroquois, 
40 ; at Hudaon Bay, 66, 181 ; fur 
trade Iqr, 196 ; at MacUnac, 107 ; 
Oreen Bay, 164, 186. 

TTUFIELD, Sam 8., aid aoknowl- 

•^ edged, zii. 

Fishing, at Sault, 61-66, 05 ; La 

Polnte, 07, 68, 71 ; MacUnac, 04- 

06; on Graen Bay, 168; at Do 

Fere, 165-167. 
Fire Nations, name for Iroquois, 

Florida Indiana, 44, 46. 
'' Fortune BUnche,** wrecked near 

Tadoussac, n, H. 
Fox Indians, 40 ; in Ottawa mi8> 

sion, 48; at La Polnte, H ; Al- 

loues among, 160, 161, 168. 
Frontenac, Louis de Buade, oomte 

de, sends JoUet to explore Mis- 



iiMippI, Tiii, 188, 185, m, 188. 
Fur trad*, fostered bj Fraaeh, 188; 
controlled by oomfMuij, 188; 
metliodi corrupt Indians, 85, 80, 
91 ; evils opposed by Jesuits, 80, 
91 ; extent of , 87 ; at Indian Til- 
lages, 164; on St. Lawrence, 815; 
at Tadoussac, 81, 87 ; Three BIt- 
ers, 87« 88; Hudson Bi^^, 188; 
with Shawnese, 79; Southern 
Indians, 199, 808; Western tribes, 
185, 180, 146; on Great Lakes, 
48-60; La Sailers operations, 180; 
at Chequamegon Bay, 60, 70; 
Sault, 166; on Lake Michigan, 
884, 885 ; Qreen Bay, 156, 164 ; at 
De Pere, 811, 818 ; on Fox Biver, 
157, 160; Wolf Biver, 161; ai 
Prairie du Ghien, 190 ; CJhicago, 

r^ASAStE, Ben6deBr«hantde, 

vJ* at Sault, lSfr-181. 

Oamier, Charles, Jesuit mission- 

Oarreao, Leonard, Jesuit mission- 
ary, 15. 

Oeese (bustards), 78, 164, 819. 

Oeorgla Indians, 44. 

Oeorgian Bay, Jesuits on, 46 ; Mar- 
quette, 49-58; 8ulpitiMM« 160; 
Ji^et, 185. 
. Goupa, B«n6, Jesuit brother, 15, 

Qreen Bay (dCy), AUoues near, 78. 

— (water), froquois on, 98 ; Kieo- 
let, 147; Alloues, 166-168; Da- 
blon,160; Jeliet and Marquette, 
146-154; deseribed by BAbhm, 
16&-168 ; Sturgeon Bay portage, 

(Jroseilliers, M6dard Chouart, siear 
des, at Ohequamegoa Bay, 69, 
70 ; at Point Keweenaw, 100 ; on 
Mississippi, 189. 


Oulf of Mmdco, early knowledge 

of, Tiii, 61. 
— of St LawTMoe, 84. 

HUDSOK Bay,BBkimasoD,44; 
Algonkfais, 40; Fk«nch, 45, 

Huron country, Jesuits in, 88. 

~ Indians, described, 48, 45 ; raided 
by Iroquois, 48, 80, 54, 6»-71, 84- 
99 ; on Lake Superior, 48, 51, 54, 
68, 71, 78, 74 ; Jesuits among, 46, 
55; Marquette among, Tiii, 75, 
108-186 ; at Mackinac, 9»^, 168, 
105, 111-121, 148; Drttillettes 
among, 108. 

ILLINOIS, Iroquois in. 48, 98. 
Illinois Indians, 40; French 
trade with, 98; in Ottawa mis- 
sion, 48; at La Points, n, 7«-81, 
184. 806; Alloues among, 189; 
Marquette, ix, 195, 196, 199, 800, 
806, 807, 815, 817-888. 

Indians, description of tribes, 88- 
46 ; origin of Tillage sites, 168, 
164; Unguages difficult, 8S-80, 
87 ; superstitions, 160, 161 ; sua 
worship, 75, 771; medldae men, 
88, 76, 108, 108, 111 ; sensitiTeness, 
88; oratory, 188, 188; fishing 
methods, 61-60, 67, 68, H, 9i-96, 
168, I6tm67 ; mine oopper» 64-87; 
not as pictured by Oeeper, 48 ; 
Tillage life. 111, 118; taitlmately 
known by Jesuits, 85; mission- 
ary methods, 8S-87, 86, 111, 118. 
See also Jesuits, fur trade, and 
the ssTeral tribes. 

Iroquois Indians, described, 89, 41- 

48, 45 ; capture French, 81 ; at- 
tack Quebec, 81, 88; p r o p osed 
French-English league agataut, 
108; raid Hurons, 46, 50, 51, 64, 
6»-71, 91-98; control Lake Brie, 

49, 50; raid Weilira tribes* 48, 


Father Marquette 

M, 105, 179; |iiiBlfllie<l hy Weneh, 
48 ; JmaUm mnxmg, 43, 48, 4«, 74 ; 
At Mifilrtnac. 98 ; meet La Salle, 
198; at buiial of Marquette, 289. 
UeBojale, copper minei on, 84-67. 

JACKKR, father Edward, die- 
oorers Marquette's bones, 880. 

Jaoqnes, Marquette's ^royageur, 
818, 881, 888-887. 

Jesuits, military character of or- 
der, 17, 66 ; dassillcationof mis- 
sions, 46, 47; extent of labors, 
46, 184 ; period of success in New 
France, Tii; missionaiy meth- 
ods, 88^, 89, 118, 168; house at 
Quebec, 88,84-86, 187, 188 ; Three 
Rtrers mission, 87-87, 108 ; Ottar 
wa mission, 87, 47-144, 166, 160, 
888 ; at St. Ignaoe, 98-97 ; at De 
Pere, 109, 117, 166-169, 210-^8; 
at St Mark, 168; seek copper 
mines, 84-«7 ; hated by La Salle, 
184 ; astronomical instrument 
found, 166 ; Iroquois mission, 42, 
48 ; among Southern tribes, 44 ; 
relations with Sioux, 44 ; diffi- 
culty of locating sites, 104, 167 ; 
Journal, 80 ; Relations, 18 ; new 
edition of Relations, xi,xli. See 
also the several missions and 

Jogues, Isaac, Jesuit missionary, 
18, 87, 46, 64. 

Joliet, Louis, youth of, 122, 128; 
training of, 128-126; atSault,124, 
126 ; obtahis knowledge of Missis- 
sippi, 128 ; meets La Salle, 128, 
128 ; awakens interest in Missis- 
sippi, 190-192 ; chosen by Talon, 
182; despatched by Frontenac, 
188-187; at Mackhmc, 187-144; 
leaves Mackinac, 14^145; voy- 
age to De Pere, 146-166, 206 ; at 
De Pere, 166, 166, 166-171, 211-217 ; 
on Fox River, 170-176 ; among 


Mascoutens, 160, 175-184 ; on Wis- 
consin River, 184-189 ; discovery 
of Mississippi, viii, 66, 70, 169-191, 
288, 288 ; descent of Mississippi, 
190-206 ; return to De Fere, 206- 
212 ; loss of his records, ix, 212- 
216 ; his map, 186, 206, 812, 218, 
216 ; closing years, 215 ; place in 
history, 282, 288. 

KANSAS Indians, 45. 
Karankawan Indians, 46. 

Kaskaskia (111.), Indian town of, 
807, 8ia 

Keweenaw Point, portage path, 
lOO;; Iroquois at, 66 ; M6nard, 54, 

Kickapoo Indians, at La Pointe, 
71 ; on Fox River,V179, 180. 

Eimberly (Wis.), 171. 

Kiowan Indians, 45. 

Kiskakon Indians, remove Mar- 
quette's remains, 228-280. 

LABRADOR, 21; Eskimos in, 
44 ; Jesuits, 184. 

La Chine rapids, Jolietshipwrecked 
at, ix, 218, 214. 

Lake Erie, discovered, 60; con- 
troUed by Iroquois, 41. 49, 50, 
129 ; Sulpitians on, 129. 

~ Huron, 61; discovered, 60; at 
Mackinac, 98, 94, 114, 116 ; tribes 
on, 04 ; Champlaln on, 126 ; for 
trade, 49 ; Marquette, 49-58, 105 ; 
Jesuits, vii ; Sulpitians, 129, 180 ; 
Ottawas return to, 92, 96 ; Joliet 
on, 185. 

— Michigan, discovered, 60; at 
Mackinac, 98, 94, 109, 114, 115; 
Chicago portage, 206-208 ; Stur- 
geon Bay portage, 209, 210, 218 ; 
tribes west of, 156 ; Joliet and 
Marquette on, ix, 145, 207, 210 ; 
Marquette, x, 218, 219, 224-227 ; 
funeral cortdge, 826, 229. 


Lake NIpJMiiiff, MMquetto <m, 62 ; 

Joliet, 186. 

— Ontario, dtocoTered, 60; Iro- 
quois on, 41 ; Joliet, 198. 

— Pepin, HnronB on, 68. 

— Puckawa, 176. 

— St. John, fur tr^de on, 21. 

— Simcoe, Jesuits on, 46. 

— Superior, discovered, 60 ; limit 
of French influence, 28; outlet 
described, 61, 101, 114, 116 ; tribes 
on, 64 ; copper mines, 84-87, 124, 
125, 177 ; Point Keweenaw, 100 ; 
Nicolet near, 81 ; Radisson and 
Groseilliers on, 60, 70 ; Iroquois, 
68 ; M6nard, 54, 69 ; Marquette, 
Till, 68, 98-101 ; Dablon, 60, 127; 
Dablon's map, 127 ; Jesuits on, 
45, 66; DrtUllettes, 102; Joliet, 
124, 126, 128; abandoned by 
French, 87-09. See also La 

— Winnebago, Marquette and Jo- 
liet on, 170, 17^175. 

— Winnepeg, early French on, 82. 
Lalemant, Charles, Jesuit mission- 
ary, 15. 

—, Gabriel, Jesuit missionary, 15. 

— , Jerome, Jesuit missionary, 15. 

Laon (France), history, 1-5 ; seat 
of Marquette family, vii, 5-10 ; 
birthplace of missionary, 80, 72, 

La Pointe (Chequamegon Bay), 
described, 67; origin of name, 
70, 71 ; tribal resort, 67-60, 164 ; 
Hurons flee to, 60 ; Radisson and 
GroeeiUiers at, 69, 70; Alloues, 
70-72, 74, 75, 77, 109 ; Marquette, 
▼ili, 72-99, 109, 117, 124, 126, 180, 
184, 188, 166, 206 ; abandoned, 87- 

La Salle, Jean Baptiste de, fore- 
father of Marquette, 7, 8. 

— , Rend Robert CayeUer, sieur de, 
training of, 124 ; hates Jesuits, 


184 ; on Mississippi, 126, 128, 129, 
180 ; meets Joliet, 128, 129 ; on 
Ohio, 128, 129 ; on St. Josephs, 

La Salle JRose de, mother of Father 
Marquette, 7, 8. 

Laval de Montmorency, Mgr. Fran- 
cois de, bishop of New France, 

Le Bofime, Louis, Jesuit brother, 

Le Jeune, Paul, Jesuit missionary, 

Le Mercier, Francois, Jesuit supe- 
rior, 26, 48, 56, 58, 60, 78, 84, 86. 

Little Rapids (Wis.), 171. 

Louisiana Indians, 45, 46. 

Louisrille (Ky.), La Salle at, 129. 

Ludlngton (Mich.), Marquette dies 
near, z, 226. 

MACKINAC (MichiUhnackinac) 
Island, distance from Sault, 
109; distance from La Pointe, 
98 ; seat of Jesuit mission, 98,94 ; 
described by Dablon, 87-89, 94- 
96 ; easy of defense, 164 ; Hurons 
return to, 92-97, 108 ; Marquette 
on, 108-116, 205 ; present appear- 
ance, 106-108. 

— Straits, Hurons on, 68; Mar- 
quette at, viii, X, 108-145 ; burial 
of Marquette, z ; Marquette's 
monument, 229. 

Mackinaw City (Mich.), 107, 108. 

Maine, Jesuits in, 46, 101, 102. 

Manitoulin Islands, seen by Mar- 
quette, 51 ; Ottawas return to, 
92, 97, 108, 106. 

Marameg Indians, 64. 

Marquette, Frangoise, sister of 
Father Jacques, 7, 8. 

— , Jacques, son of Vermand, 5. 

— , Father Jacques, ancestry, zi, 
5-8 ; birth, vii, 8, 9 ; youth, vii, 
9, 10; joins Jesuits, 10, 11 ; teacher 


Father Marquette 

iB n«aoe,Til, 11-16 ; ImitetM St. 
IVaa^oig ZATior, 16« 80 ; airlTsl 
In OMiadA, tU, Till, 17-M, «. laS ; 
pnpfl of DiiliUettes, 96-t7 ; ao- 
<ialrM dz iBdteB dkOeoti, M, 
ao ; tribes la time of , 88 ; on Ot- 
tavft miHlOB, 48-144 ; ai flmlt, 
Till, 48-78, 1Q1<-108, 110, 118 ; La 
Poiate, Till, 51, 78-100, 100, 117, 
IM, !». 180, 184 ; Xaokinao 
■traita, viii, 08, 108-186 ; yearna to 
dlMorar WmOmlpsll. 78-80, 88, 
100,186,198,187; friead of JoUet, 
181, 188 ; Mleoted to aooompaoj 
Joilat, 184-186; laatw MaoUaao, 
148-146, 168, 906 ; ri^jaga to De 
Para, 145-106 ; at Da Para, 18^ 
186, 16»-171, 811-917; oa Fox 
Bhrar, 170-184 ; Wlwsonflin Blvar, 
184-180 ; diMoreiT of litwiMippl, 
▼lU, 06, 70, 180-101, 989, 988 ; da- 
■eaat of MiflilMipiil, lOO^UO ; ra- 
tura to De Para, Till, 906-918; 111 
ai Da Para, ix, 91»«7 ; writea 
Joumal of dlaoorerj, ix, z, 919- 
916; hi! map, 185, 800, 919, 915 ; 
■acoad miMlon to nUnoia, iz, 917- 
988 ; jouraal tliaraof , z, 918-991 ; 
death, z, 984-997; Iniriai, z,zi, 
90-980 ; place in liiatorj, z, zi, 
981-488 ; other hlographiea, zL 

■arquatta, Jeaa Bertraad, brother 
of Father Jaoqnea, 8. 

— , Loolfl (dit Catalan), brother of 
Father Jaoqoae, 8. 

-,lfarie, liatar of Father Jao- 
qnea, 8. 

-, Michel, brother of Father Jao- 
<|uee, 8. 

-, KioohM, father of UOuBt Jao- 
qnea, 6,0. 

— , FInmaison, in Amaricaa Bero- 
Itttion, 6. 

— , ▼ermaad, founder of fkadlj, 5. 

— familj, poaitlon in Laon, tU; 

flMwa, fooadad by 
FTanQoiea Marquetta, 7, 8. 

— (Wia.>,17t. 

Maacoutaa ladiaaa, 188 ; location 
of, 184, 186; Alkmea amonc, 100, 
196, 150, 100 ; Dablon, 196, 160 ; 
Joliet and Manpiatte, 17&-184 ; 
on Lake MJdiigaa, 910. 

arr, 16, 94. 
M teard, Bea«, Jeoolt miarionary* 
15; at Point Keweenaw, 100; 
death, 54, 80. 

ladiaaa, in Ottawa 
, 48 ; AUouea among, 156 ; 
Joliet and Maiqoette, 101 ; da- 
■cribed bf Marquetta, 148-151. 
Miand ladiaaa, Alconkin tribe, 40 ; 
hi OtUwa mlHioB, 48; at La 
Polnte, 71 ; Alloues among, 150 ; 
in Wiecowrtn, 171, 180, 188. 
Miohigaa, copper mines, 84-87. 
MicbnUmafiMnac, name of region, 
.116. See also Maddaacldaad. 
Milwaukaa, Marquette Oollega at, 

Minneaota, Huroos in, 68, 00. 
Indians, 61 
ladiaaa, 45. 
Mitchigamea ladiaaa, Joliet aad 

Mohawk ladiaaa, 41. 

Montagnals Indiana, laaguaga 
learned 1^ Maiqaetta, 86; Jesuits 
among, 48. 

Montraal, Jesuits at, 46, 48, 918 ; 
Marquette at, 40, 61 ; trade with 
the West, 08, 110 ; SulpltlaBs at, 
19»-181; discovarr o^ possibla 
portrait of Marqnett^ 981 ; St 
Mary's Oollega arohitea, 915, 918. 

-VTASHTILLB (Tenn.), Algoa- 
-L-^ kiiMnear.40. 




NeviUe, Arthur C. aid Aclmoirl- 
edged, zii. 

Newfoundland, 88 ; Indians of, 44 ; 
Jesuits in, 45. 

New Brunswick, Jesuits in, 46. 

New England, tribes of, 40 ; Jesuits 

New France, but slowly settled, 
87; developed by Talon, 188; 
Frontenac's administration, Tiii ; 
Jesuit missions, vii, 11-15, 134 ; 
fur trade monopoly, 188 ; ac- 
quires Northwest, 110, 125, 188. 

New London (Wis.), Allouez near, 
161, 168. 

New Orleans (La.), settled by 
French, 24 ; Jesuits at, 45. 

New York (State), Iroquois in, 81, 
28, 41-48, 49. 

Nicolas, Louis, Jesuit missionary, 
at Sault, 59/ 

Nicolet, Jean, training of, 184 ; at 
Green Bay (De Pere), 80, 147, 
168 ; among Masooutens, 160, 176. 

North (Carolina Indians, 45. 

North Dakota Indians, 46. 

Northwest passage, sought by 
French, 66. 

Nouquet Indians, 64. 

Nouvel, Henri, at burial of Mar- 
quette, 829. 

Nova Scotia, Jesuits in, 46. 


^ JIBWA Indians, 40 ; at Sault, 
48, 53, 54, 68-66 ; raided by 
Iroquois, 68 ; at La Pointe, 70. 

Oneida Indians, 41. 

Onondaga Indians, 41. 

Oshkosh (Wis.), Indian yUlage at, 
176, 176. 

Ottawa Indians, 40 ; trade with Il- 
linois, 81; trade with French, 48, 
49 ; Jesuits among, 37, 156 ; Me- 
nard, 54 ; Allouez, 75 ; Marquet- 
te, Tiii, 46-144, 8S8 ; DraiUettes, 
108 ; raided by Iroquois, 68, 69, 



71 ; by Sioux, 88-09 ; return to 
ManitouUn Island, 98, 108, 108. 

Ottawa (IlL), JoUet and Marquette 
near, 807. 

Outchibou Indians, 64. 

Owens Sound (Ont.), 51. 

-pARTBIDGES, 819. 

-^-^ Patagonians, of Indian race, 

Pennsylvania, Iroquois of, 41. 

Perrot, Nicolas, training of, 184. 

Phips, Sir William, wrecks Joliet's 
station, 814. 

Pierson, Philippe, Jesuit mission- 
ary, at St. Ignaoe, 141-143; at 
burial of Marquette, 889, 830. 

Pigeons, 78. 

Plymouth (Mass.), Pilgrims at, 11. 

Point Sable, on Green Bay, 158. 

Point St. Ignace, Marquette at. 104, 
105, 116-145; Marquette seeks, 
883; burial of Marquette, 22S- 
230 ; Joliet at, 136-145. 

Portage (Wis.), Joliet and Mar- 
quette at, 185, 186. 

Porteret, Pierre, Marquette^s voya- 
geur, 218, 281, 888-887. 

Pottawattomie Indians, 40 ; in Ot- 
tawa mission, 48 ; at La Pointe, 
71 : Allouez among, 109, 156, 157, 
175 ; sought by Sulpitians, 189 ; 
Marquette among, 818. 

Pndrie du Ohlen (Wis.), origin of, 
164, 190; Jottet and Marquette 
near, 205. 

Princeton (Wis.), 176, 184, 186. 

Puants, origin of name, 146-148. 
See also Winnebago Indians. 

QUEBEC, 66, 157, 186, 218-815, 
817, 828 ; commerce with 
France, 21 ; trade with West, 93, 
119, 186, 146; attacked by Iro- 
quois, 28 ; in 1666, 28-27 ; arrival 
of Marquette, 17-84 ; Jesuits at. 


Father Marquette 

iz, M, 48, 78, 119, 1 16, U8, 128, 197, 
198 ; Joliet, 199, 198, 180-186, 914 ; 
TAlon, 181, 189. 

RADIS80N, Fi«nre BqMrit, at 
Chequamegon Bay, 68, 70; 

at Point Keweenaw, 100 ; on MIs- 

alMtppi, 189 ; journal, 181. 
Ra^eoeau, Paul, Jesuit miaiion- 

ary, 16. 
Raymbault, Charles, Jetuit mis- 

rionary, 64. 
Red Banks, described, 169. 
Bed Wing (Minn.), Hurons near, 

River Arkansas, visited by JoUet 

and Marquette, viil, 901-906. 

— Black, Hurons on, 64, 68, 60. 

— Calumet, at Chicago, 908. 

— Chicago, Joliet and Marquette 
on,fac907, 908; Marquette, 919> 

— Chippewa, 68. 

— Des Plaines, JcHkit and Mar- 
quette on, 907 ; Marquette, 991. 

— Fox, obstructions on, 168, 170- 
179 ; Foz-Wisoonsin portage, 186, 
186, 906; AUoues on, 79, 16»- 
168; Dablon, 16»-161, 166-168, 
179-175 ; Joliet and Marquette, 
151-165, 170-186, 911. 

— French, Marquette on, 40-68 ; 
JoUet, 185. 

— Grand, 226. 

— Illinois, Joliet and Marquette 
on, ix, 906, 907; Marquette's 
mission on, ix. 

— Kalamazoo, 926. 

— Mattawan, Marquette on, 49- 
59 ; Joliet, 185. 

— Menomonee, Ashing at, 168; 
AUoues on, 168 ; Joliet and Mar- 
quette, 148-151. 

— Mississippi, described, 190, 191 ; 
Fox- Wisconsin route to, 185, 186 ; 
St. Joseph route, 995; tribes 

on, 89, 90; Algonkins, 40, 68; 
Iroquois, 98; Hurons, 68, 60; 
Southern Indians, 48 ; Sioux, 44, 
48, 69 ; feared by Indians, 99 ; 
limit of French power, 94 ; men- 
tioned in early Jesuit Relations, 
78-81, 88 ; early explorations on, 
196-198, 139 ; Badisson and 6ro- 
seilliers on, 70, 196 ; yearned for 
by Marquette, 78-80, 99, 109, 125, 
187 ; Talon's interest in, 180-1S2, 
187 ; La SaUe, 196, 128, 129, 189 ; 
Joliet and Marquette, Tiii, xi, 
18, 66, 70, 122, 189-206, 812, 282, 
288; Jesuit missions, 12; de- 
scribed by Menomonees, 150, 151 ; 
by AUoues, 126-128 ; fur trade 
on, 126. 
River Missouri, seen by Joliet and 
Marquette, 106-198. 

— Mohawk, Iroquois on, 22, 42, 

— Muskegon, 225. 

— Oconto, fishing at, 163; fur 
trade, 164 ; AUoues, 158-162. 

— Ohio, tribes on, 81 ; La SaUe, 
128, 129 ; seen by Joliet and Mar- 
quette, 198. 

— Ottawa, why used by early 
French, 49, 50, 129 ; Iroquois on, 
51 ; Jesuits, 88 ; Marquette, 51, 
62 ; Sulpftians, 180 ; JoUet, 186, 

— Pdre Marquette, origin of name, 

— St. Croix, 68. 

— St. Francis, seen by JoUet and 
Marquette, 200. 

— SI Joseph, fur trade route, 

— St. Lawrence, commanded by 
Quebec, 22; at Three Rivers, 
27 ; Algonkins on, 40, 46 ; Iro- 
quois, 41 ; fur trade, 21, 49. 129 ; 
mission viUage, 66 ; Marquette, 
87, 51, 12 ; JoUet, 128, 180. 214. 




BlTer St. Marys, outlet of Lake 
Superior, 115; flshing at, 05; 
lOofquette on, 51, 63, 103 ; Sulpi- 
tians, 180. 

~ St. Maurice, at Three EiTers, 87. 

— Saguenay, fur trade on, 21 ; 
Tadouflsac, 37 ; Jesuits, 46. 

— Saskatchewan, Algonkins on, 

— Sayannah, Southern Indians on, 

=- Tennessee, Southern Indians on, 

— Wisconsin, described, 18&-188 ; 
Fox- Wisconsin portage, 186, 186, 
906 ; Masooutens near, 126 ; Me- 
nard lost on, 54 ; Joliet and Mar- 
quette on, yiii, 184-189. 

— Wolf, Allouez on, 159. 

Bocky Mountains, tribes of, 39, 40, 
44 ; fur trade to, 87. 


JAC Indians, 40 ; in Ottawa mis- 
sion, 48 ; at La Pointe, 71 ; at 
De Fere, 160 ; on Fox Biyer, 175. 

St. Francois Zavier, model for 
Marquette, 16, 80, 220. 

— mission, 104, 106; founded, 08-97, 
108-105 ; Marquette at, 93, 103-145. 

St. Lusson, Simon Francois Dau- 
mont, sieur de, at Sault, 110, 126, 

St. Mark, mission, 162. 

Sault de Ste. Marie, distance from 
La Pointe, 100 ; from Mackinac, 
03, 100 ; described, 61-66 ; fisUng 
at, 168 ; Ottawa mission, 48-66, 
68, 04, 180 ; Allouez, 56, 60, 60, 
118, 156, 150, 162 ; Dablon, 60, 66, 
72, 180, 160 ; Marquette, riU, 51, 
63-72, 101-103, 118, 180 ; DrtUllet- 
tes, 101-103, 109; Nicolas, 66; 
Sulpitians, 130 ; St. Lusson, 110, 
125. 132. 

Seminole Indians, 48. 

Seneca Indians, 41. 


Shea, John Gihnary, CathoUc his- 
torian, xi, 186. 

Shawnese Indians, 40; visit HU- 

Siouan Indians, described, 80, 44 ; 
met tiy Jesuits, 44. See also 

Sioux Indians, described, 87, 88 ; 
on Missisfdppi, 48 ; hospitality to 
Hurons, 69 ; raid Hurons and 
Ottawas, Tiii, 64, 68, 69, 81, 82, 
87-99 ; feared on Lake Winne- 
bago, 172. 

Six Nations, name for Iroquois, 42. 

Southern (Mas^oki) Indians, de- 
scribed, 89, 40, 48-45, 47. 

Spaniards, relations with Southern 
Indians, 199, 208 ; Marquette ac- 
credited to, 135. 

Sparks, Jared, biography of Mar- 
quette, xi. 

Sulpitian missionaries, with La 
Salle, 18»-130, 134 ; in Northwest, 

Stags, 78, 120, 167. 

Sturgeon Bay portage, Joliet and 
Marquette at, 909, 210; Marquette 
at, 218. 


-*- AArlv 

^USSAC, described, tl ; 
early French outpost, 97 ; 

trade with West, 126 ; Jesuits at, 

46 ; wreck near, 21. 
Talon, Jean Baptlste, interest in 

Mississippi, 131, 139; engnges 

JoUet, 137. 
Teal, 154, 166. 
Texas Indians, 46. 
Three Rivers, early French out- 
post, 27, 28 ; Jesuits at, 46, 108; 

Marquette, 96, 128. 
Timuquanan Indians, 44, 46. 
Tonikan Indians, 45. 
Tonkawan Indians, 46. 
Tonty (Tonti), Henri de, training 

of, 124. 


Father Marquette 

TreaUAOve, G«taiio, MOlpCor of 

turkBjM, 78, 198, 219. 
Tuaouora IndlMu, join Iroquois, 


-r TOHEAN iBdiMM, 44. 
U UnnUiio mnM, 88. 

(Wte.), 70. 
VimoDt, BertMlemy, Jeratt mie- 

■kmary, 15. 
Virginia Iiidiaiw,4&. 
Voyecears, 178, 818, 881, 88B-887 ; 
•ooompenj JoUet and HerqiMt- 
te, 148-144. 

WASHBUBN (Wle.), 7D. 
Well, Bernard, Jemit mii- 
■ionary, 81 


WhUeOsh Bay, llarqnette on, 58, 

Wildcats, 180, 107. 

Wild rioe (oats), used by Indians, 
88, 90 ; how hanreeted, 14»-151 ; 

Winnebago Indians, Siouan tribe, 
44; why called ''Puants,'* 146- 
148 ; burial mounds, 158 ; in Ot- 
tawa mission, 48, 04 ; Alloues 
among, 109, 166, 175. 

Wisconsin, copper implements in, 
86 ; tribes at La Pointe, 71 ; 
BVench trade with, 98 ; gives 
Marquette statue to nation, 881. 
See also Joliet, llarqnette, La 
Pointe, De Pere, and the several 
tribes and missions. 

— Historical Society, unyeils mon- 
ument, 168. 

Wyoming Indians, 45. 





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